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Neighbour commended as Carlisle pensioner is brought to justice for sexual assault

Carlisle Crown Court

A Carlisle pensioner who sexually assaulted a vulnerable elderly woman has been spared immediate prison.

A judge who sentenced 71-year-old John Douglas Forsyth at the city’s crown court praised an eyewitness who saw his crime and captured crucial evidence on a mobile phone.

The alert bystander had seen Forsyth committing his crime against the dementia sufferer from a window.

“She was concerned, called her partner,” prosecutor Kim Whittlestone told the court, “and also took two images on her mobile phone.

“She was concerned what she was witnessing was sexual contact.”

After she and another neighbour swiftly intervened, Forsyth left the property.

But police were contacted and he was arrested the next day. 

He initially denied wrongdoing but admitted one charge of sexual assault on the day he was due to stand trial in front of a jury.

Forsyth, of Blackwell Road, Carlisle, was sentenced today when his barrister spoke of him suffering from a severe and enduring mental illness.

After hearing mitigation and reading background information, Recorder Nick Clarke QC suspended an 18-month jail sentence for 18 months.

Forsyth must complete a rehabilitation requirement, must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and comply with the strict terms of a restraining order.

“The prosecution case had to rely on a neighbour. She is to be commended for her intervention,” Recorder Clarke told Forsyth as he passed sentence.