A SEX offender chatting to what he believed was a 14-year-old girl has dodged a potential jail sentence yet again because of worries over his mental health.
Matthew Sherwood’s sentence was adjourned at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday because a medical report still had not been obtained. A judge has warned him he is at risk of jail when he is finally Sentenced, however.
The sentence hearing, Originally listed in March, had already been delayed by six weeks while his defense team sought medical evidence to explore why he was trying to chat to Underage girls online.
SHIELD: Matthew Sherwood’s first appearance at Worcester Magistrates Court
Because of the lack of this evidence so far, however, the sentence has now been adjourned for a further four weeks until May 11.
We have previously reported how Sherwood was screened at court by supporters who formed a ‘human shield’ so they could not be photographed.
GUILTY: Matthew Sherwood has admitted the offenses but has still not been Sentenced. Photo: West Mercia Police
On the last occasion Sherwood said he was signed off to work with a raft of mental health issues including psychosis and schizophrenia.
Sherwood, 37, of Mandalay Drive, Norton, Worcester had already admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity as well as having indecent images of children.
At a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on January 27, Sherwood had pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.
He further admitted attempting to cause or incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.
COURT: Matthew Sherwood (left) arrives at Worcester Crown Court
Belinda Ariss, Defending, said Sherwood was last before the court on March 2 when Judge Martin Jackson agreed ‘there should be some medical evidence from his mental health practitioner to perhaps consider the link between his mental health condition and these offenses’.
Mrs Ariss said she had written to the enhanced primary care mental health service. “Unfortunately we have not yet received a response. That letter and that response has unfortunately not been chased, ”she said.
The defendant was also told to sign the sex offender register at the last hearing which means he must notify the police of any change of address for example.
‘Attempts’ mean the defendant was communicating with a ‘decoy’ using fake profiles, rather than an actual child. Sherwood further admitted making Indecent photos of a child between April 12, 2020 and June 6, 2020. He had three category C images, the least serious category within the guidelines.
Judge James Burbidge QC agreed to the adjournment but warned Sherwood: “You must not put in your mind that you will necessarily avoid immediate custody. You must be ready for that. These are serious matters. ”
The case was previously opened in March by David Jackson, a prosecuting who said Sherwood was caught by a group called ‘No More Secrets’, an online child protection unit using the profile of a fictional 14-year-old girl.
“He told her she was beautiful and age is just a number,” said Mr Jackson.
Sherwood was granted an unconditional bail. A draft sexual harm prevention order will also be considered.