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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Sex offender has gone missing, Carlisle court told

A boss of a Carlisle animal charity and convicted sex offender disappeared after failing to turn up to be sentenced.

Ian Thomas Holmes, who runs the Carlisle-based Pets In Distress organisation, was found guilty of sexually abusing a 21-year-old following a trial in October.

He was due to be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court but barristers and court officials were mystified as to his whereabouts when he did not attend the hearing.

Erim Mushtaq, who was due to represent the 60-year-old, said that she could offer no information as to where he was or any reason why he was not there.

She added that there had been some contact ahead of the hearing and added: “I have asked colleagues to check whether Mr Holmes has made contact. Mr Holmes clearly knew about today but it appears he hasn’t contacted the court.”

Michael Jones, prosecuting, said: “The police believe that he might have left the area.”

Holmes, of Hallin Crescent, Morton, had pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexually abusing his victim by touching him inappropriately.

During the trial the court heard that Holmes had befriended the young man so he could take advantage of him later on.

The victim first met Holmes when he visited the charity with a sick dog and the charity boss went on to regularly visit him at his home.

When he was arrested he told police that he was gay and lived alone.

He said that he and the 21-year-old had fallen asleep while watching television and denied that anything untoward had happened.

Holmes was said to have sexually abused the man and when he objected he took his hand away but touched him again on the outside of his trousers in November last year.

Ms Mustaq left the court to make further enquiries and, when she returned, she said she had managed to find a contact number for Holmes but had failed to speak to him.

Judge Barbara Forrester issued a warrant for Holmes’ arrest and adjourned the sentencing hearing until he could be produced before the court.

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