November 2008

Scheming paedophile is jailed indefinitely

A scheming paedophile who targeted a family he met in a pub has been locked up indefinitely.

John Edward Patterson, who has previously been jailed twice for interfering with young boys, befriended the grandparents of his victim in order to get time alone with the boy, Durham Crown Court heard.

“He was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order in 1999 banning him from unsupervised contact with children,” said Alex Burns, prosecuting.

“The order has been breached eight times, resulting in a number of return visits to prison.

“He came out from his last sentence in 2007 and was living in the Chester-le-Street area.

“The grandparents were with their grandchildren in a pub in Chester-le-Street when Patterson, who they had not met before, struck up a conversation.”

The court heard Patterson gave the couple a false name and told them he was living in a house he inherited with his girlfriend who was pregnant.

“None of this was true,” said Mr Burns. “He did tell them he’d been to prison, which was true, but he said it was for a stabbing, which was another lie.

“Before he left, Patterson obtained a mobile phone number for the family.

“He made contact and arrangements were made for him to visit both the victim’s parents and grandparents at their respective homes.”

The court heard Patterson eventually received an invitation to stay overnight with the grandparents at a time when their grandson was visiting.

During the night, he invited the boy into his bedroom and touched his private parts.

Patterson, 34, of no fixed abode, but from the Chester-le-Street area, admitted indecent assault and breach of a sexual offences prevention order.

Tony Hawkes, defending, said: “He admits touching the boy outside his clothing, which is thoroughly unpleasant, but not the most serious sexual offence.

“Unlike some people in his position, Mr Patterson at least admits he has a problem.

“He is of limited intellect and tells me a sex offender treatment programme he took part in was of no benefit because he understood so little of it.”

Judge Chris Prince passed an indeterminate sentence with a tariff of five years.

The judge said: “It seems to me you present a substantial risk to the public in that it is likely you will carry out further offences.

“The sentence means you will not be considered for parole for at least two-and-a-half years, and you will be released only when the parole board is satisfied you no longer present a danger to children.

“Your release is not automatic at any stage and it could be you remain in custody for the rest of your life.”