AN elderly man walked free from court despite breaching his bail conditions designed to keep him away from young children.

John Drury, 93, appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court two weeks ago accused of breaching his sexual harm prevention order which was handed to him in 2011 and bans him from talking to children.

He allegedly approached a 14-year-old girl at a bus stop in High Street, Colchester, in February and began talking to her before selecting a seat right next to her when they both got on.

Drury is then said to have said if he was her age he would like to be her boyfriend.

He denied breaching the order and was bailed with the condition he should not leave his house between 2pm and 4pm on weekdays in an attempt to prevent further offending.

But yesterday, a neighbour noticed Drury, who is profoundly deaf and suffers with dementia, leaving his home in Mersea Road, Colchester, just after 3.10pm and called police.

Specialist officers from the sexual offenders team arrived and confirmed Drury was not at his house.

Shortly afterwards they found him at the shopping precinct at The Willows and escorted him back to his home before arresting him.

He appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court this morning and denied breaching the bail conditions.

Drury struggled to hear proceedings throughout the hearing and was allowed to leave the dock and stand next to magistrates as they explained what was happening.

He was allowed to walk free when the Crown Prosecution Service made no representations for him to be remanded in custody.

It asked for him to be rebailed ahead of his plea and trial preparation hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on October 23.

Levent Kamal, mitigating said: “This is a mix up coupled with his difficult personal circumstances.

“He went to the shop to get some food and would have had no chance to interact with anybody.

“This is not a case where he has committed another offence.”