York & North Yorkshire

Sex ban man John O'Neill 'made homeless'

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Media captionJohn O'Neill shows the Victoria Derbyshire programme his camp in the woods

A man who must notify police 24 hours before he has sex has said he is sleeping rough in a wood near York.

John O'Neill said restrictions over his use of communications devices - another condition of his Sexual Risk Order (SRO) - had restricted his ability to work and claim benefits.

A judge refused to lift the order, but said it should be amended. Mr O'Neill was cleared of rape last year.

North Yorkshire Police said it was satisfied the order was proportionate.

'Extreme requirements'

Mr O'Neill, 45, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that he was advised to declare himself unavailable for work because of the SRO's restrictions. This was because, he said, the order stated he must be able to make any communications device he uses, such as computers or telephones, available to police.

This prevented him for applying for jobs in which he would be required to use an office computer or telephone.

In response, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "We don't recognise this account of events but would urge Mr O'Neill to contact us as soon as possible if he does want our help to get back into work."

Image caption Last month John O'Neill told the Victoria Derbyshire programme he had lost touch with his children

Mr O'Neill claims he has also been told that, as he is no longer eligible for Universal Credit, he cannot receive legal aid.

He said this had forced him to represent himself in court.

He said the conditions of the order were "incredibly broad and extreme" and went "far away from the Home Office guidelines".

The police applied for the order in part after the judge at Mr O'Neill's rape trial - at which he was cleared - called him "dangerous". The father-of-two has denied this and said the police had misinterpreted the judge's words.

He said he had an interest in sado-masochism and used to visit a fetish club.

The SRO requires Mr O'Neill to disclose any planned sexual activity to the police or face up to five years in prison.

'No legal aid'

He is currently living rough on the outskirts of York, sleeping in a tent.

He said he was homeless four years ago, but had "thought all of [those problems] were behind me".

"There's enough to live, enough to survive," he said, referring to his living arrangements, but added: "Obviously the circumstances are far less than ideal."

Mr O'Neill told the BBC in July that he had lost contact with his children since the order was imposed.

North Yorkshire Police said in a statement it "will only make an application to the court for a Sexual Risk Order in circumstances where it is considered necessary to do so to protect the public from the risk of sexual harm".

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays from 09:00-11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.

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