Each year hundreds of paedophiles and perverts are spared prison sentences for crimes such as viewing indecent images of children, exposing themselves in public and stalking.

Judges tasked with sentencing offenders are given the unenviable task of weighing up competing factors such as punishing offenders, rehabilitating them and protecting the public.

With research showing that short prison sentences do not work to prevent further offending, judges often reach the conclusion that defendants should be spared prison.

These usually leads to a suspended prison sentence - meaning the defendant will not serve the sentence in prison unless they offend again during the period of the suspended sentence.

Here's a round up of South London sex offenders who have been spared jail in 2023.

Richard Eggleton 

News Shopper: Richard Eggleton pictured leaving courtRichard Eggleton pictured leaving court (Image: Newsquest)Richard Eggleton, from Penge, was spared jail after he stalked two young girls and admitted having a sexual attraction to children.   

The two girls said they first encountered Eggleton in 2021 when he began to follow them and shout their names when he passed them in the street.  

This behaviour escalated in 2022 when he knocked on one of their doors and asked her mum if her daughter wanted to “come out to play”. 

The terrified mum phoned the police and officers warned Eggleton that he cannot approach or talk to the girls again.  

However, only a few weeks later he followed them and asked for their Snapchat accounts, the court heard.  

The following month police took statements from the two girls after they were again followed by Eggleton. 

The court was told that Eggleton was previously convicted of sexual assault in 2007 and in 2014 he was cautioned for exposure after he stood in his front window and masturbated towards girls who were in the street outside.  

Eggleton was given a 10 week prison sentence suspended for one and a half years as magistrates said they think his mental health can be managed better outside of prison.  

Read the full story - Penge stalker who followed 11-year-old girls spared jail.  

John Paul Murphy 

News Shopper: Murphy (right) pictured wearing navy blazer and tan trousers as he covers his face while leaving courtMurphy (right) pictured wearing navy blazer and tan trousers as he covers his face while leaving court (Image: Newsquest)John Paul Murphy, 55, of East Ferry Road on the Isle of Dogs, has been banned from wearing short shorts on public transport after he repeatedly exposed his penis to women on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).   

John Paul Murphy is said to have lived a “law-abiding life” until he started exposing his genitals while staring at women on trains across east and south east London.  

One of his victims described anger at having to put up with the likes of Murphy. In a victim impact statement, she said: “I just want to be able to go through my personal and work life without fear of being sexually harassed.” 

Murphy was given a one-year community order including 60 hours of unpaid work.   

Murphy was also given a sexual harm prevention order to last for five years, including a requirement that he must wear trousers or shorts of at least knee length when travelling on public transport. 

Read the full story - Sex offender given ‘short shorts ban’ after exposing himself to women on DLR. 

PC Darren Hourigan 

News Shopper: PC Darren HouriganPC Darren Hourigan (Image: Met Police)PC Darren Hourigan, 51, was a serving officer in the South Area Command Unit, which covers Bromley, Croydon and Sutton, when he was caught with videos of babies being sexually abused.   

He claimed he “may have been hacked” after he was caught accessing a portal which included 3,490 videos and 295 still images of children.  

When he was arrested at his home in March 2020 he told colleagues he had no idea about the images.  

In a second interview, PC Hourigan said he had used the file sharing platform to view cycling and athletics videos.  

He continued to deny ever viewing indecent images of children but said “I may have been hacked”. 

He was given a a 10 month prison sentence suspended for one year.   

Read the full story - Sick Bromley policeman spared jailed after paying for videos of babies being abused. 

Paul Hardy  

News Shopper: Paul Hardy left the court building a free manPaul Hardy left the court building a free man (Image: Newsquest)Paul Hardy 44, from Orpington, was arrested after an online conversation in which he "enthusiastically" arranged to abuse a young girl.    

Fortunately, the person Hardy was messaging with an undercover officer who was posing as ‘Matt’, a dad with a seven-year-old daughter.   

A court heard that on May 17 last year Hardy asked ‘Matt’ if he likes “family fun”, beginning a conversation about the sexual abuse of children.  

He and ‘Matt’ made plans to meet up so that Hardy could sexually abuse the seven-year-old.  

While no date was ever settled on, prosecutor Paul Douglas said: “The defendant was clearly enthusiastic about meeting 'Matt' to commit sexual acts with a seven-year-old girl."  

Hardy was arrested the following month and while he at first denied any knowledge of the conversation he later admitted that he knew why the officers were there.  

He was given a 16-month sentence suspended for two years.  

Read the full story - Orpington dad who arranged to abuse '7-year-old girl' spared jail. 

Michael and William Lai 

News Shopper: William (left) and Michael (right) William (left) and Michael (right) (Image: Newsquest)Brothers Michael and William Lai, aged 61 and 67, built a catalogue of 47,000 child sex abuse images over a period of five years.  

Together they collected vile pornography which showed children as young as nine being subjected to horrific abuse.    

When National Crime Agency officers raided Michael’s home on Castlemaine Avenue, Croydon, in November 2019 he confessed that he’d been downloading indecent images. 

He also told officers that a computer tower and three hard drives in his home belonged to his brother William. 

A total of 35,101 images were attributed to Michael, while 11,863 images were attributed to William.   

William, of Pheasant Field Drive in Derby, was given a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years, while Michael was given a two-year prison sentence also suspended for two years.   

Read the full story - Brothers caught with 47,000 child abuse images in Croydon raid. 

Azeddine Mansouri 

Azeddine Mansouri, 44, of Brookside Crescent in Sutton, avoided prison after he masturbated in a swimming pool while children were present.   

On March 9, 2022, he masturbated in a swimming pool in Sutton then he returned the following day and did it again.  

The court heard that children were present at the time. 

Mansouri was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for two years. 

Read the full story - Sutton man masturbated in a swimming pool with children present. 

Neil Chapman 

Neil Chapman, 34, from Reigate Road in Bromley, was caught in possession of more than 100 vile images when his home was raided by police in August 2021. 

Police intelligence suggested he had uploaded a horrific image to an online forum. 

His computer was seized and when questioned about the upload he told police: "It rings a bell but may have been a medical image." 

Chapman had previously been in trouble with the law in 2016, when he was caught possessing indecent images of children in nearly identical circumstances. 

On that occasion a judge gave him a suspended sentence, so he never served any time in prison. 

This time he was given a 16 month suspended sentence. 

Read the full story - Bromley paedophile who claimed sexual images of kids were medical avoids prison AGAIN. 

Daniel Boyd 

News Shopper: Daniel BoydDaniel Boyd (Image: Left: Newsquest Right: J4K/Aftermath)Daniel Boyd, 31, of Dagonet Gardens in Bromley, was caught after he arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex just metres away from a police station.   

He sent grooming messages and photos of his penis to the ‘young girl’ before arranging to meet for sex.  

But when he arrived at Bromley South Station armed with condoms and lube, he found himself confronted by paedophile hunters who ran the decoy account he had been messaging. 

He was given a one-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. 

Read the full story - Bromley pervert caught with condoms and lube at meet with 14-year-old girl. 

Marcus Anthony Cook 

News Shopper: Marcus Anthony Cook Marcus Anthony Cook (Image: Newsquest)Marcus Anthony Cook, 55, avoided a prison sentence after claiming he didn’t know his penis was out of his trousers.   

A dog walker spotted Marcus Anthony Cook standing in Poverest Recreation Ground in Orpington with his hands on his hips and his manhood hanging out of his unzipped flies.   

He had indecently exposed himself in public so many times that a court previously ordered him always to have two articles of clothing covering his private area.   

“I must have gone to the toilet and forgotten to zip my flies up,” he said. 

He was given a community order rather than a prison sentence.   

Read the full story - Serial sex offender avoids prison after claiming he didn’t know his penis was out. 

Matthew Lucas 

News Shopper: Matthew Lucas, 24Matthew Lucas, 24 (Image: Newsquest)Matthew Lucas, 24, of Sydenham Road in Croydon, was reported to police by his therapist after he told her he’d been downloading images of babies in nappies being abused.   

He had previously been spared prison for identical offences. 

This time Lucas was given an eight month sentence suspended for one and a half years.   

Read the full story - Paedo told therapist he downloads photos of babies in nappies being abused. 

Anders Diaz Huiza 

News Shopper: Anders Diaz Huiza leaving courtAnders Diaz Huiza leaving court (Image: Newsquest)Anders Diaz Huiza, 21, of Newington Causeway in Elephant and Castle, smiled and waved at cameras while leaving court after he avoided a prison sentence for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl and watched videos of children being raped.   

In spring 2021 he watched vile videos of children being sexually abused on a laptop that was being loaned to him by New City College.  

Read the full story - Student avoids prison after sexually assaulting 15-year-old girl.

The horrific videos which were found on that laptop and other devices which belonging to him included some which showed children as young as four being raped by men. 

After Huiza was arrested for possession of indecent images he was released on bail to his home on Newington Causeway in Elephant and Castle.  

On September 24, 2021, he then sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl by entering her flat and getting into bed with her. 

He was given a sentence of one year and nine months, suspended for two years.