Couple chased child abuser through streets of Hull after catching him with boy
A COUPLE have revealed how they chased a man through the streets of Hull after catching him sexually abusing a boy in a car park.
Elliott Cox and Sharon Thompson called police, but followed abuser Martin Harness in their own car when he drove off with his victim still in the passenger seat.
Mr Cox and Miss Thompson, travelling in their Subaru Impreza, gave officers a running commentary as they trailed Harness in his car.
Harness, 67, has now been convicted and the couple, of west Hull, have been praised and given a reward by a judge for their "public spirited actions".
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Mr Cox, 45, said: "Harness didn't even see us, but my lass and I saw what went on and what we saw in that car park sickened us both. We called the police and gave them the car's registration plate, but then the guy started the engine and moved off. We knew we had to follow.
"There was no way he was going to get away with what he had done to that child.
"Our lass saw more than me and she said he looked frightened."
Miss Thompson, a mother-of-six, was asked by the operator if she and her partner could follow the criminal's car.
Mr Cox said: "They said, 'Can you follow the vehicle and give us a running commentary on the streets he is going down?'"
Miss Thompson reeled out street names to the operator on her mobile phone, enabling officers to quickly swoop.
Mr Cox said: "We must have travelled about a mile-and-a-half when we spotted the police near Asda in Hessle Road.
"The police physically dragged him out of the car. There were three officers.
"That kid had a look of fear. He didn't want to be sitting there."
The couple had spotted Harness touching and kissing the boy in his car parked behind wholesaler Makro on St Andrew's Quay, in west Hull, on July 16, last year.
Harness, of Tennyson House, Grimsby, has now admitted sexual activity with a boy aged under 16.
Prosecutor Richard Woolfall told Hull Crown Court Harness had known the boy for several years when they bumped in to each other by chance in the block of flats where Harness lived.
The court was told Harness had pushed the teenager against a wall, kissed him on the lips and put his tongue in his mouth.
The boy tried to push him away and later ran off.
Harness later became a friend of the boy's family and the second offence happened in Hull.
Mr Woolfall said Miss Thompson had been left very upset by what she saw and so there were, in effect, two victims of the offences.
Mr Cox told the Mail: "We were disappointed not to have been thanked by the police.
"It was important Sharon was thanked, because she has really suffered.
"She has a son around the same age as the boy and she has not been able to sleep properly because of what she saw."
Patrick Palmer, mitigating, stressed his client had no previous convictions and found it difficult to accept the sexual aspect to his behaviour.
"It has brought him a good deal of shame," said Mr Palmer. "He is finding it very hard to face up to what he has done. He has learned his lesson."
Recorder Eric Elliott QC praised the couple and awarded each of them £250 from public funds.
Harness was given a three-year supervision order, including a sex offenders' treatment programme.
He was also given a five-year sexual offences prevention order and must register as a sex offender for five years.
Unemployed Mr Cox said: "I would have liked to have seen him go to prison.
"But at least he is going to be kept under close supervision for the next three years."