Mayor not guilty of kerb-crawl charge

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A DEVOTED family man and three times town mayor has been forced to reveal intimate details of his sex life in a public court of law in a bid to clear his name after he was charged with kerb-crawling.

Coun Paul Rounding wept and hugged his wife of 34 years Lynn and daughter Emma when the not guilty verdict was announced after he stood trial at Hull Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Coun Rounding, of The Horseshoe, Driffield, was charged with attempting to pick up a prostitute in St Luke’s Street, Hull, at around 7.30pm on October 27 last year.

But Mr Rounding said he had only parked on that street, in the city’s red light district, to pick up a pizza when a prostitute whom he said looked “very young” got into his car.

The court heard how Mr Rounding told police officers he had no interest in picking up prostitutes because he was impotent.

“I tried to explain to the officer that I wouldn’t want to go with a prostitute because I could not get an erection,” Mr Rounding said.

In a police interview, Mr Rounding said: “I have had a good sex life with my wife and I have been taking these tablets and it has got worse and worse and worse.

“I have been to see the doctor and he is going to prescribe me with some viagara.”

In reply to Detective Constable Brigg Wasling’s suggestion that lots of people go with prostitutes because they think it will help, Mr Rounding said: “I was taken aback. I said I have no interest in picking a prostitute up at all. I get absolutely no satisfaction or stimulation from that.”

Mr Rounding wept briefly when prosecutor Sally Robinson suggested he was having marital problems. He said he had been happily married for 34 years.

Mr Rounding, who works as a production manager at Yorkshire Electricity, said he had driven from the company’s depot on Clough Road to buy his favourite seafood pizza from Trio’s, on Anlaby Road.

He said he had driven around the area once as all the parking bays outside the pizza shop were full, before parking in a free space on St Luke’s Street.

Two undercover police officers, who are part of Humberside Police’s sexual exploitation team, said they saw a female sex worker having a 10 to 15-second conversation with Mr Rounding through the open passenger side window of his blue Vauxhall Insignia car before getting in.

The officers, PCs Kirsty Loose and Kay Mclaughlin, had been carrying out a routine patrol of the Osborne Street, Midland Street and Porter Street area of the city, which is known to them as “Vice Area One”.

The court heard the woman got out of the car seconds later as the officers approached it and accepted a street caution for prostitution.

Mr Rounding was taken to an unmarked police car where he was arrested.

In a police interview on November 3 last year, Mr Rounding said the woman could have been talking to him through the window of his car but he had not been aware of it.

He told officers he had been shocked and surprised that the female had got into his car.

“When she opened the door and got into the car she says ‘do you want business?’ I was taken aback by that.

“I said straight away ‘no’. She said ‘do you want sex?’ I said ‘no, get out of the car’.

She said ‘do you want oral sex?’ and I said ‘no’. I raised my voice and said ‘get out of the car’,” Mr Rounding said.

Delivering the not guilty verdict, presiding magistrate Brian Collins said: “We believe the case given by the police officers to be correct however, taking into account the circumstances of the evidence of the case, we can’t be sure beyond all reasonable doubt there was a positive act of soliciting by the defendant.”

Speaking outside the court after the verdict, Mr Rounding’s solicitor Vicky Lancaster said the case should never have been brought to court and that justice has been done.

“There was no evidence against Mr Rounding. The prosecution should never have been brought and justice had been served by the verdict of not guilty.”

“In order to prove soliciting you have to show that the accused did the soliciting.

“In other words, the accused sought sexual favours for money and there is no evidence that he did that. There is evidence that somebody approached him and he said ‘go away,” Miss Lancaster added.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Rounding, Miss Lancaster said he and his family were “exhausted and relieved”, adding: “They have gone through an ordeal that they shouldn’t have had to go through.”