June 2009

Paedohile at Wrexham bail hostel sentenced to four and a half years for grooming two girls

Patrick Brendon Smith

A DANGEROUS paedophile who tried to groom two young girls for sex while staying at a bail hostel was locked up for four-and-a-half-years.

Locals blasted the sentence as too lenient after Patrick Smith, was sent back behind bars by a judge at Caernarfon yesterday.

The 44-year-old who is originally from County Meath in Ireland admitted trying to groom two schoolgirls aged 12 and 13 for sexual activity while staying at the Plas Y Wern probation hostel at Plas Madoc, near Wrexham, last January.

Although he will be eligible for parole after half the term, the judge made an indeterminate order for public protection, which means he will stay locked up until it is considered safe to release him.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC said: “In my judgement there’s a significant degree of predatory behaviour and distorted sexual interest towards children, with a level of violence.”

But yesterday locals slammed the sentence and said with his dangerous history, Smith should have been locked up for life.

One protestor said: “I am disgusted, it is a disgrace.

“Given his past history he should have been locked up for life.”

Another protestor said: “I am very disappointed with the sentence, with what he has done before he should have been sent down for a lot longer.

“We have concerns about the bail hostel housing serious sex offenders there – it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Smith had been sent to the probation hostel after completing a 12 months sentence imposed last year at Preston crown court for assaulting a girl of 13 at Blackpool on her early morning paper round, demanding sex and threatening to kill her.

Yesterday Judge Hughes heard Lancashire police had failed to update the court record for the judge at Preston to know that Smith had been sentenced to 12 years in Ireland for two rapes – one involving a girl of seven.

 

Smith, who is originally from County Meath in Ireland, was jailed for 12 years in 1998 after being convicted of raping a seven-year-old girl.

Smith then set up home in Blackpool in 2008, shortly after being released from a further six year jail sentence in Ireland for sexual attacks on a 13-year-old girl and a 58-year-old woman.

Living in the seaside town under the name of Patrick Reilly, within weeks he dragged a 13-year-old paper girl to the ground while on her early morning round, demanded sex and threatened to kill her.

He was arrested and finally sentenced in October 2008.

 

The court heard that Smith was arrested at the Plas y Wern hostel in January this year, after trying to persuade a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old girl to meet him in a pub car park at Acrefair.

He offered to “take them for a spin” in his car, and offered to buy them alcohol, said prosecutor Andrew Green.

“They said no because they had school the next day,” said Mr Green.

“However, he persisted and they agreed to meet him later that week.”

But one of the girls “went straight home and told her mother what had happened”, added the prosecution.

Smith pleaded guilty to two offences of trying to arrange or facilitate sexual activity with a child.

Sentencing, Judge Hughes said Smith’s previous convictions and pre-sentence reports convinced him that the sex offender was a “significant risk of serious harm” to the public.

He said an assessment of Smith placed him at a “very high risk of reoffending, a high risk of sexual offending, and it is believed that the risk to young females is very high”.

The judge said he would be imposing a sentence of imprisonment for public protection.

It means Smith must serve a minimum jail term of two years and three months before he can apply for parole.

However, a parole board must then consider whether he still poses a risk, and Smith will stay in prison until he is no longer a public threat.

“A considerable amount of time would be required before you have addressed your factors to a sufficient degree,” added Judge Hughes.