March 2015

Convicted paedophile groomed a mother and child and failed to disclose his sordid past has been jailed

James Howes

A sex offender who groomed a mother-of-five and a series of under-age girls has been jailed for three years.

James Howes, 32, was branded “a danger to the public” and told he would be subject to monitoring by social workers for a year after his eventual release from prison.

Howes, who used to live in Albert Street, Longtown, admitted breaching a five-year sexual offences prevention order imposed in 2012 for inciting an 11-year-old girl to engage in sex.

Howes used a false surname, Martin, to make contact with a woman in West Lothian, Scotland, through an internet dating site.

Between April and September 2013 he moved into the woman’s home and went on outings with her and her children.

He did not disclose – as he was supposed to do – that he had been convicted of a serious sexual offence and failed to tell police he had changed address.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard the woman became suspicious after she overheard Howes using his real name during a phone call to his social worker.

She threw him out of her home and notified the authorities before doing some internet research into his true identity.

She discovered to her horror that his name had been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for trying to seduce an under-age girl he’d befriended on Facebook.

Howes moved back to Cumbria while on bail awaiting sentence for the West Lothian offences.

There, the court heard, he befriended another woman and child but also failed to tell them that he was banned from unsupervised contact with any youngster under the age of 16. He was jailed for two years for that offence at Carlisle Crown Court in February, when Judge Barbara Forrester told him: “I am satisfied that (in this case) there has been grooming of the family and, potentially, of the child.”

When Howes appeared for sentence on the Scottish offences, Sheriff Peter Hammond said he had shown “an utter disregard” for court orders.

The sheriff told him: “I am satisfied that you have not been punished in England for the offences before the court today and there’s no element of overlap, so it falls to me today to visit the question of punishment for these offences.

“Only a custodial sentence – and a significant one – is appropriate having regard to your record and the nature of the offences.”

He added: “Considering the appropriate length of sentence, I have come to the view that you have embarked on a protracted course of concealment of your identity and deceit.

“I accept that no actual physical harm to any children has been shown to have taken place.

“But the alleged breaches relate to the legislative protective framework to ensure the protection of children from abuse.

“It is well enough known by everyone concerned that the process of grooming is long-term and can be measured in months or years as opposed to weeks.”

Because Howes was assessed as being as a high risk of causing serious harm to others, the sheriff imposed a supervised release order making him subject to social work supervision for a year after his release from prison.

Sheriff Hammond warned him: “If you breach the order you are liable to be brought back to court and returned to custody.”

October 2014

Paedophile hid his sordid past from mother of five he met on an internet dating site

howes

James Howes, 32, stayed with the woman and her children – the youngest aged just four – despite being banned from having unsupervised contact with children.

He had met the woman via a dating website, but called himself James Martin and failed to tell her he had previously admitted inciting an 11-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

After chatting online the pair exchanged phone numbers and the woman arranged for him to travel from Carlisle to Edinburgh for a date.

She subsequently invited Howes, of Albert Street, Longtown, to her home and he spent a total of 69 days, including several weekends, staying with her and her family and going on family outings.

For nearly five months he failed to tell her he was on the sex offenders’ register and banned from having unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16.

Howes’ past was only revealed after the woman overheard a phone call about “probation” in which he used his real name.

He admitted everything after the mum challenged him and she threw Howes out of her home in Livingston, West Lothian, after an argument. He returned to Carlisle on September 2.

She then searched online and discovered pictures of him and press reports covering his previous case before Carlisle Crown Court in April 2012.

On that instance, Howes had offered to pay an 11-year-old girl £20 to clean his Longtown house and provide “other services”.

He sent the youngster messages on Facebook saying he was “lonely”, “wanted some female company” and to “kiss her all over”.

Howes pleaded guilty to inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity and was given a three-year community order, with a condition that he attend a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.

He was also sentenced to do 100 hours’ unpaid community work and his name was added to the sex offenders’ register for five years.

At Livingston Sheriff Court Howes pleaded guilty on indictment to breaching a sexual offences prevention order and failing to notify police he’d stayed at a new address for more than seven days.

Brian Robertson, prosecuting, said the woman had five children aged between four and 11 and lived with her mother.

Hazel McGuinness, defending, stressed that although Howes had gone on family outings with the woman and her children, he had never had unsupervised access to the youngsters.

She said he was still on probation and was co-operating with a group called Circles in Cumbria to address his “difficulties”.

She asked the court to continue bail because Howes had started full-time employment on September 9 after three years with no job.

Sheriff Peter Hammond released him on bail and deferred sentence for background reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment. Howes will be sentenced on November 6.

April 2012

James Howes sentenced for Facebook sex messages to girl, 11

A man from Cumbria who sent an 11-year-old girl Facebook messages inciting her to have sex with him has been given a three-year community order.

James Howes, 29, from Albert Street in Longtown, sent the girl messages in July saying he was “lonely” and “wanted some female company”.

Howes was arrested after his girlfriend saw the messages and informed police.

He was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years.

Judge Barbara Forrester said it was “clear” what his intentions were and said the pair had not met because the girl was “very wary and sensible beyond her years”.

Howes was given the community order with the condition he attends a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders and must also complete 100 hours unpaid community work.

He pleaded guilty to inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity.