Former owner of LGBT pub in Yorkshire convicted of sexually abusing two young boys when he was 14

A former leading light in Wakefield's gay community has avoided jail despite being convicted of the sexual assault of two boys.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:59 pm

Leeds Crown Court heard that because John Paul Pickwell-Nicolaou, now 43, was only 14 years old when the offences were committed in 1993, he could not be sent to prison because the crime was not considered to be grave enough to warrant custody for juveniles at the time.

Mr Pickwell-Nicolaou, who with his husband used to run LGBT-friendly pub The New Union and Westgates Bar and Eatery in Wakefield, was babysitting the two boys, who were aged nine and seven, at a property in Wakefield when he assaulted them in what Judge Mushtaq Khokhar accepted could be considered 'experimentation'.

The court heard that the incidents had a profound effect on the two victims, who had struggled with a criminal lifestyle and issues with alcohol and forming relationships.

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John Pickwell-Nicolaou was a leading light in Wakefield's gay community and ran an LGBT bar

Neither man attended court, but had provided statements relating to the 'emotional torture' of the abuse that they had been forced to relive during the trial, after which Mr Pickwell-Nicolaou, who had denied all five charges, was found guilty by a jury.

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The former Wakefield Pride organiser's defence counsel said his client 'did not accept' the conviction, and added that: "His pub honoured the gay community in which he served, and was a hub for individuals who went there to confide and seek solace about abuse they themselves had suffered. He understands the impact these offences can have and is not callous or uncaring. There has been no hint of reoffending since."

Sentencing Mr Pickwell-Nicolaou to a two-year community order with rehabilitation activity requirement, 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay £8,000 in court costs, Judge Khokhar said: "These offences were various forms of abuse and the two boys were very young indeed. I accept it may have been experimentation on your part, but nonetheless the impact on the victims was quite substanstial.

"As someone who had worked with people who have been subject to sexual abuse, you should know how profoundly affected victims can be. They do not blame you entirely for the lives they have lived, but you are a contributory factor.

"You claimed that the allegations were motivated by jealousy or homophobia but this was not borne out by the evidence, the consistency of the allegations or that they were made before you achieved the success you worked hard for.

"In 1993, the culpability for a 14-year-old was quite low and they could not be sent to prison unless for a grave crime. It is one thing for you to protest your innocence, but quite another to attribute blame."

A three-year restraining order preventing contact with both victims was also granted.

Mr Pickwell-Nicolaou is now believed to have moved away from the Yorkshire area.