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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Child molester-claim texts man released

 John Cassidy: Sent texts messages to schools, individuals and a pub wrongly  describing a former friend as a child molester after falling out with him. Cassidy was freed from a 150-day prison sentence last week

By STAFF REPORTER

A CARLISLE man who sent a string of messages wrongly describing a former friend as a child molester has been freed from prison after winning an appeal.

John Cassidy was jailed for 150 days last October but that was suspended for two years after he took his appeal to the city’s Crown Court last week.

The 54-year-old, who actually served 23 days in custody before being released pending last week’s hearing, will be supervised by the probation service for 12 months.

Cassidy, of Westrigg Road, Morton, must also pay £250 costs after abandoning an appeal against his conviction for sending false messages likely to cause annoyance.

The text messages were sent to Kirkbampton Church of England School, Great Corby School, Petteril Bank School, as well as to Nicholas Horsley, Christopher Hewitt, Anne Newlands and the Greyhound Inn at Cotehill.

Cassidy was convicted on October 3 last year and later sentenced by District Judge Gerald Chalk who told him: “You sent several messages to schools and individuals alerting them to a named individual who you alleged was a paedophile.

“That was false information calculated to cause distress not only to the individual but also to staff and created a risk of vigilante behaviour.”

The court heard that Cassidy sent the text messages after he fell out with his friend Brian Glencross, who had become close to Cassidy’s ex-wife, Karen.

Rachel Widdecombe, defending, said Cassidy suffered from a variety of medical conditions including back problems, a heart condition, anxiety and depression for which he was receiving long-term medication and said a custodial sentence could make this worse.

Cassidy’s son Scott was convicted of murdering his cousin Greg on a street in Carlisle in May 2002. He has since won the right to appeal against his conviction because the pathologist who gave evidence at his trial – Alan Williams – has since been convicted of serious professional misconduct, relating to another case.

Cassidy’s appeal is expected to be heard by law lords sitting in the High Court in London.

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