Bendigo sex offender jailed for stalking 15-year-old girl living nearby, possessing a "pedophile's handbook"

A BENDIGO sex offender who left lewd notes for a 15-year-old girl and was found in possession of child pornography and a “pedophile’s handbook” has been sentenced to three years’ jail.

Jason Andrew Nowell, 40, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to one count of stalking, possessing child exploitation material and failing to comply with his sex offenders register conditions.

The court heard that following his arrest, police released Nowell on bail back into the house near his victim for the next six months.

Detectives say they had no choice as they had no concrete suspicion that Nowell would act on his advances towards the girl, he had no other potential residence and the real estate agent was refusing to evict him.

Nowell left a letter labelled “private and confidential” and addressed to the girl who lived nearby, aged 15 at the time, on top of their bins. It was graphic in nature.

One year later, he left another handwritten note for the girl which was addressed to “cutie cutie”, and included requests to perform lewd acts.

The notes and card were taken to police who did not initially investigate. An investigation started when the matter was later taken to the Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Team, which found Nowell – a convicted sex offender – had handled the material.

Nowell left another note for the girl describing her as “his beautiful” and signed with “J”.

Detectives raided his Bendigo house the next day and found another note that read “I wish I could be your boyfriend so I could kiss you, hug you” and went on to describe other lewd acts.

His computers and USB devices were seized, which were found to contain 1684 images and 20 videos of child exploitation material.

The majority were in anime or other cartoon styles and depicted children engaging in sexual acts with adults.

Police found a “pedophile’s handbook” that explained how to have sex with children without being detected.

Nowell was charged and released on bail back into the same house, near his victim.

Victim impact statements from the girl and her mother were tendered to the court, outlining the fear and anxiety the man’s actions had caused to them both.

The court heard she refuses to be left home alone.

Defence counsel Russell Kelly said Nowell has a number of serious personality and anxiety disorders.

He said Nowell did not make any physical advances towards the girl.

“If there were concerns about him acting on this, he would not have been put back into that house,” Mr Kelly said.

“There was no acting on any of this when clearly there was an opportunity to do so.”

The court heard Nowell has a prior conviction for the attempted rape of a 16-year-old, for which he was jailed.

Magistrate Patrick Southey said Nowell needed to serve at least 18 months behind bars so he could be included in a sex offenders program.

He said it was concerning that he had committed another sexual offence after being released from jail.

“Having already been in jail, which you obviously didn’t like, you go and do this offending,” Mr Southey said.

“The stalking was very serious, it upset the victim and her mother. Possession of the pedophile’s handbook is an enormous concern.”

Nowell was convicted and jailed for three years with a non-parole period of 18 months. He was placed on the sex offenders register for a further 15 years.