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Sex ban man loses legal challenge to lift order

John O'Neill says the ban is ruining his life. Credit: PA

A man who has to give police 24 hours' notice before he has sex with a new partner has lost his legal battle to have the restriction lifted.

But the terms of the order against John O'Neill will be changed after a hearing at York Magistrates' Court next month.

The 45-year-old, from York, lost his case after North Yorkshire Police argued he posed a risk to the public and should be subject to a Sexual Risk Order, despite being acquitted of rape after a retrial in November.

York Magistrates' Court heard he made a series of worrying confessions to his GP and a psychiatric nurse, including choking a woman unconscious, thinking "a lot" about killing her and that he needed women "to be scared or I don't respond".

District Judge Adrian Lower said the terms of the order will be amended at a hearing on September 22.

But he said that the condition to give police 24 hours' notice before sexual contact with a new partner was "frankly unpoliceable".

Police applied to have the sex ban on John O'Neill made permanent despite him being cleared of rape. Credit: PA

The former IT consultant said it was a "thoroughly humiliating day" and admitted he lost the case by representing himself, adding: "Clearly I didn't know what I was doing."

He said that he needs to "get back into society" and said that lifting the ban on him using the internet without police being able to check his use would mean he could find a job.

O'Neill, who has been living in a tent in woods outside York, said the order has ruined his life.

Asked if the judge's comments gave him hope of starting a relationship, he said: "My main concern is I'm homeless, I cannot work, I cannot claim benefits, I need to get back into society somehow."

Judge Lower said: "I have become increasingly concerned with Mr O'Neill's evidence during the course of the day."

He described him as having a "narcissistic streak" and he was troubled by what he may do or say to others.

I found him to be a vain, manipulative and grandstanding individual who seeks to persuade me that black is in fact white and used the valuable time of professionals to describe sexual fantasies he may or may not have.

– District Judge Adrian Lower

The order was originally put in place on evidence of medics O'Neill spoke to before his rape trial.

He told a psychiatric nurse he noticed a change in himself in 2010, adding he "stopped asking girlfriends if they consented to sex with him".

When he saw his GP, Dr Miriam Hodgson, in 2014 he said his sex life had become increasingly violent.

Dr Hodgson wrote: "He thinks he may have raped someone, it went further than she expected.

"Patient thinks he is dangerous and needs to be stopped."

The single dad-of-two also had suicidal thoughts and believed "it would be safer for everyone if I was dead," the court heard.

But O'Neill, who admitted to having an interest in S&M and used to attend a Fifty Shades of Grey-style fetish club, argued that what he told the doctor was just fantasy but police took it as a confession.

He added he had no criminal record "not even a parking ticket".

But the judge who imposed the restrictions on him said: "Although this man has been acquitted, it is my judgment he is a very dangerous individual."

As well as notifying police when he wants to have sex, Mr O'Neill must also hand over the PIN for his mobile phone and not use internet-connected devices which cannot be later checked by officers.