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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Cumbrian dad of 22 has no regrets, but others don't approve

A ‘feckless’ father who sired 22 children with 11 women has been criticised for almost every aspect of his life.

Raymond Hull has become the subject of discussion, debate and argument across the world after a judge spared him jail – to allow him to look after his baby.

His story has gone viral after being revealed by the News & Star on Thursday.

Hull had admitted drug possession and dealing after a police raid uncovered a stash of cannabis worth £350 and £1,000 cash. Hull maintained the cash was the result of selling a campervan.

The 58-year-old, of Springkell, Aspatria, was sentenced to 18-months in jail, but Judge Paul Batty QC “reluctantly” suspended it.

Speaking to the News & Star afterwards, Hull admitted that a bad back means he has not worked for 10 years.

Despite this, he has 22 offspring by 11 women, as well as being grandfather to 19 and a great-grandfather of one.

Hull said: “I don’t regret anything. I love kids.

“I’ve never had to chase after women. I’m easy going, they’re always chasing me. I don’t know what it is about me, but I’m never short of offers.”

He added: “If it’s tidy, you don’t knock it back, do you? I love the kids though, and if they want me involved in their lives, I’ll get involved.”

Robert Oxley, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s ludicrous that Raymond Hull’s fecklessness has got him off the hook.

“Individuals must take responsibility for their actions, whether it be for breaking the law or their financial responsibilities when they bring a child into this world.”

His views have been echoed by former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe.

“What the judge should have done is send this man to jail,” she wrote in the Daily Express, “and told him when he comes out he must get a job and pay for all the children he has fathered.

“That is what would and should happen in any civilised society. Until we send out robust signals we will see more and more examples such as this man living in such a way funded by benefits.”

Social media is awash with commentators – professional and amateur – with even comedian Jason Manford getting in on the act. He posted a photograph of a newspaper article about Hull, and circled the name of his seven-month-old son Barry Lesley Shaddrock Hull.

Manford wrote: “The real crime here is the kid’s name, but after 22 it must be a struggle to be fair!”

The posting has been “liked” almost 8,000 times and prompted hundreds of comments.

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