Man breaches court order by letting a woman sleep in a tent in church yard

The area around All Saints Church at Pontefract.
The area around All Saints Church at Pontefract.

When a rough sleeper allowed a woman to share his tent he ended up getting arrested for breaching a non-molestation order.

Derrick Asquith, of Sycamore Green, Pontefract, appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court via a prison video link with a string of offences on the court list.

They were whittled down to three charges starting with the breach of a non-molestation order which had been imposed in November last year preventing him from communicating with the victim.

However, the court heard that on March 19 this year, police were patrolling the area at All Saints Church in Pontefract after getting complaints about people with nowhere to go sleeping there in tents and found Asquith and the victim together in the tent at 9.30am.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that she had approached Asquith's tent, he asked her to leave but let her stay as she had nowhere to go and he didn't want her to sleep on the streets and that the situation was "fairly amicable". However, the offence was "aggravated" as it was not the first breach.

For the incident of criminal damage, that occurred on March 26 at Havertop Lane Police Station, it was said that Asquith, aged 43, had been arrested for another matter and spat on the floor of the cell requiring it to have a deep clean that cost £200.

The third offence was possession of a knife at Salters Row, Pontefract in June. However, the four inch kitchen knife was not discovered until his bag was being searched at the police station after he had been arrested for another matter.

In mitigation for Asquith, who has 77 offences and 39 convictions on his record from 1992, the court was told "it was a shame Mr Asquith finds himself in this position."

The court was told: "In terms of the breach of the molestation order, that seems to be with consent of the person and the only reason the police were there was because of general complaints. It is the lowest level breach you could possibly get.

"For the damage, he had been kept waiting for a long period of time, he got angry at the way he was treated and spat on the floor.

"He did not know the knife was in there, it was not discovered until he was searched. Nobody ever saw the knife, it was never produced and he has never been before the court for anything like that before.

"He is a man that has been periodically homeless and carrying around all his goods at some stage or another. He does have a lot of convictions and there was a five year gap between 2012 and 2017. We need to get him back to whatever was going on at that time."

The court heard Asquith has missed or breached a number of probation and court appointments and so he was given 12 weeks in prison for the knife charge by trainee chair magistrate Janet Hibbett, which was reduced to eight for his guilty plea. For the damage and order breach he was given a week for each offence which will run at the same time as the knife sentence.