VIDEO: Dwarf dodges jail over sex charge on train
A dwarf who appeared in the Harry Potter and Star Wars films has dodged a short spell behind bars for indecently exposing himself to a teenager on a train.
Former pantomime star Nicholas Read, who played an Ewok in Return Of The Jedi, was given a suspended 20-week jail term after a judge said it would offer the best opportunity for rehabilitation.
Read, of Wade Close, Cheadle, north Staffordshire, was convicted of indecent exposure last month after a 17-year-old girl told Leicester Crown Court how the actor performed a sex act under the cover of a juggler's hat.
The celebrity was shown mercy by Recorder Richard Bond despite having previous convictions for sexual offences, including an incident in which he clambered into the bed of a stage manager and his girlfriend.
The 40-year-old's previous convictions also included a series of "random" and explicit phone calls made to women from a hotel room as long ago as 1995.
Passing sentence, Mr Bond said: "A relatively short sentence of imprisonment will not help you, and it certainly will not protect the public from your fantasies.
"I have had to ask myself this question: is this a case where not just you, but more importantly, the public would benefit from you receiving a short custodial sentence? The answer to that is no."
The judge imposed two specific requirements on Read, which will require him to be supervised by the Probation Service and to undertake a community sex offender group work programme.
Read, who must also pay £500 towards the cost of his prosecution, was arrested last October after "trapping" his victim in a window seat on a train travelling between London and Leicester.
Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and yellow tie, the 4ft 5in actor attended court in the company of another dwarf and was told that the teenager had been a vulnerable victim.
Describing aspects of Read's latest offence as chilling, the judge told him: "It was obvious that she was extremely scared by what you did to her.
"She was so scared that she couldn't complain immediately for fear that you would touch her."
Offering mitigation on Read's behalf, defence barrister Nigel Hamilton said his client had been involved with pantomimes since the age of 16, earning a weekly wage of up to £800.
Mr Hamilton told the court: "He will not be able to do that anymore - he has had cancellations left, right and centre."
It is understood that Read has recently been hiring himself out to stag parties, offering to be handcuffed to the stag while dressed as a diminutive fictional character such as a Smurf or Oompa-Loompa.
Although the nature of Read's current employment was not aired in open court, Mr Bond voiced sadness at the actor's current activities and expressed hope that he will be able to stick to "normal" roles in future.