A persistent sex offender who lived in Brighton and Shoreham has been jailed for making scores of nuisance calls to children after he was supervised more loosely because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Mark Furnevel, 51, formerly of Dorset Gardens, Brighton, tried phoning one teenage girl more than 300 times over a few days.
Furnevel, previously known as Mark Pyne, offered her money to “meet a boy” but even when he said that he would give her £3,000, she said no.
Pierce Power, prosecuting, told Hove Crown Court: “He asked her to provide him with shoes and underwear and other items of children’s clothing.”
At first the girl thought she was the victim of a prank call after she answered a public payphone in Littlehampton. Furnevel called the phone 88 times in a few months.
Mr Power said that it was unclear whether Furnevel had been watching the girl as he spoke to her but he appeared to have given her the impression that he was.
He obtained the girl’s number and made scores and scores of calls to her phone even after her mother answered one call and warned him off.
Mr Power said that Furnevel was caught when two police community support officers (PCSOs) were walking past the phone kiosk when it rang. They answered and Furnevel was on the line.
Mr Power said: “They were approached by two youth workers who said that the phone would ring and be answered by children.”
The kiosk was known locally as the “paedo phone”, the court was told this morning (Wednesday 14 October).
A statement from the girl who was pestered by Furnevel was read to the court. She said: “I did find the whole experience a bit upsetting and I became worried that I was being watched all the time and I didn’t think he’d ever stop ringing.”
Mr Power said: “He has a troubling list of antecedents going back 28 years.”
He had previously been convicted for making obscene phone calls, having child porn and causing a public nuisance through indecent phone calls.
Furnevel, a council litter picker, of Oyster House, Oyster Quay, Shoreham, admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order and causing a nuisance by making persistent calls to a public phone box.
He appeared by video link from Lewes Prison.
Jason Halsey, mitigating, said: “It’s been 23 years since he committed a contact offence … but the court is going to be concerned by the risk to vulnerable young children.
“There’s an element of fantasy to his offending. He struggles to explain what has happened. He has a lack of control.”
Mr Halsey said that Furnevel grew up in London in the 1970s and had been thrown out of the family home when he was nine years old and lived on the streets.
Before the coronavirus lockdown he had received support and supervision but, Mr Halsey said, “during lockdown he didn’t have the support that he had had before lockdown and slipped back into his previous pattern of offending.”
He said: “The nature and persistence of those breaches (of the sexual harm prevention order) are concerning. It’s very odd behaviour.
“As much as young people need protection from Mr Furnevel, he needs help and supervision. He needs a degree of surveillance and support … and it’s time he learnt to confront his demons.”
Judge Jeremy Gold said: “This sort of behaviour is reprehensible and simply not acceptable.
“I have to do what I can to protect the public and there are guidelines that I have to follow.”
Judge Gold jailed Furnevel for three years for breaching the sexual harm prevention order and for a further year for the nuisance calls, making four years in total.
He ordered the forfeiture and destruction of Furnevel’s phone and agreed to a new sexual harm prevention order which bans him from phoning call boxes in future.
Furnevel is to remain a registered sex offender.
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