Paedophile pensioner with orange balloon fetish jailed for three-and-a-half years

David Hunter
David Hunter

A pensioner who broke a sexual offences prevention order by making contact with an under-age girl on social media has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

David Hunter, 67, is prohibited from possessing orange balloons as part of a series of measures designed to control his behaviour.

Hundreds of photos showing girls either holding or blowing up balloons were found by police after they searched two properties linked to Hunter in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire earlier this year.

The searches were carried out after it was discovered Hunter had been in contact with an under-age girl who he had previously covertly filmed on a bus.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Hunter was jailed for 40 months in 2015 for filming a girl on a bus - but he got in contact with the same child several months after being released from prison.

The court was told Hunter sent a Facebook request to the 15-year-old girl in March this year accompanied with a black and white photo of a school boy and references to balloon websites.

There was further contact on Instagram and two messages sent by Hunter to the girl at the end of March which said “you’re gorgeous” and “love you to bits.”

Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting, said Hunter had also “developed a fetish for orange balloons.”

The court was told 200 photos of girls either holding or blowing up balloons were found when police searched his home in Gainsborough, Lincs.

Hundreds of similar images were found when police searched two sheds which Hunter had built himself on land sub-let to him on a farm in Aslockton, Notts.

Footage showing Hunter appearing to “simulate sex” with an orange balloon was also seized, Mr Outhwaite told the court.

And there was also evidence Hunter had been swimming with a nine-year-old girl on the rapids at Butlins in Skegness and had used the false name of “David Harley” on invoices found at his home.

Hunter, who has previously lived in Nottingham and Boston, pleaded guilty to four charges of breaching a sexual offences prevention order and one charge of failing to comply with a notification requirement relating to the use of an alias.

Christopher Brewin, mitigating, said Hunter was released from prison on licence in the middle of 2016 and was not recalled to jail until 5 April this year for the new offences.

Mr Brewin said Hunter did not initiate the contact with the girl at Butlins and told the court many of the photos showing girls with balloons were old images.

Hunter said he used the alias of David Harley because he did not want his neighbours to Google his real name and discover his past.

Jailing Hunter for three and half years Judge John Pini QC told him: “I have to continue to protect the public.”

The judge added: “What is clear from your antecedent history is an absolute, wilful, persistent refusal to comply with court orders.

“It is right to point out that in terms of direct sexual contact there is nothing.

“So you present as a very significant risk, but one that doesn’t appear to have materialised.”

The court heard Hunter was first convicted of taking indecent or pseudo photos in 1994 and has been under a series of Sexual Offences Prevention Orders since 2001 designed to control his behaviour.