Convicted paedophile battling police to keep job as ice cream man

Police are trying to stop a convicted paedophile from working as an ice cream man, stating that it is ‘not an appropriate job for a registered sex offender’.

Paul Neary, 47, was given a suspended jail sentence in 2016 for possessing indecent images of children, and was made to sign the Sex Offenders Register and cooperate with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Officers then discovered in July last year that he had been selling ice cream on Crosby Beach, in Sefton, during the last 18 months. They then visited his home, and photos of children’s soiled underwear and naked Barbie dolls mimicking sex acts on him were found on his phone.

Merseyside Police have now applied to adapt his SHPO, so that he is banned from working as an ice cream vendor, owning female children’s toys, or participating in any activity which involves girls under 16 or unsupervised contact with them. 

Neary previously agreed not to work in the van until he’d told his employer about his past conviction – and the company later said they were happy for him to continue in his role. He is now opposing the police application to get him banned from the ice cream truck. 

The photographs found on his phone are not technically illegal, so Sefton Council and the Disclosure and Barring Service are powerless because ice cream vendors are not regulated by either authority.

Neary’s job selling ice cream first came to light through a conversation with his neighbour, in which he admitted that his employer didn’t know about his conviction.

PC Mary Fielding, who monitors sex offenders, then visited his home on Burbo Bank Road South last year and found the flat ‘exceptionally cluttered’ with bags of clothing that he claimed to have bought from car boot sales to cross-dress with. 

The bags had women’s clothing in them, Barbies and other toys, which Neary said were mixed up with other items he had brought. 

Neary, who also worked as a DJ at a pub in West Derby, had a laptop and a mobile phone which did not connect to the internet, as well as an Android phone which did. 

On that phone, police found 30-40 photos of girls’ underwear that appeared to have been soiled by Neary and laid out on the sand dunes. They also found over 100 photos of naked Barbie dolls around a toilet, placed in sexual positions and mimicking sexual acts on him. 

There were also around 30 photos and videos showing Neary wearing soiled girl’s underwear around his ankles and halfway up his legs in public toilets, with some exposing his penis.

In a report, PC Fielding said the clothing and images she found showed ‘clear evidence of sexual preoccupation and possible offence-related sexual interests’, and supported further prohibitions on Neary.

She said Neary was shocked at the idea of being banned from selling ice cream as he said he ‘does a good job and enjoys it’. He disagreed with Fielding’s suggestion that he was putting himself at risk of re-offending and ‘tempting’ himself. 

A churchgoer with only a few friends, he said he did not reenact the images he had created with the dolls, but stated that he was ‘fascinated’ with them but did not understand why. 

He didn’t say whether he was aroused by children, and responded to questions about the photographs by saying ‘everyone has a right to a private life’. He also insisted he ‘knows the difference between right and wrong’.

Neary said he liked to cross dress in women’s clothing after his father ‘mentally abused’ him and made him wear his sister’s underwear to school, which led to other children mocking him. 

He stated that he had started looking at child sex abuse images out of ‘curiosity’ after using adult pornography to help him relax after night shifts, but soon became ‘obsessed’. He also said he was ‘haunted by a demon’ that ‘followed him’ even after he moved homes.

PC Fielding conceded that neither she nor any other colleagues were aware of any offences committed by Neary while working with at the ice cream truck, but added: ‘I think working as an ice cream vendor in an ice cream van is not an appropriate job for a registered sex offender.’

The hearing will continue at Liverpool Crown Court this week. 

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