March 2014

Dangerous Burnley paedophile jailed for eight years

paedo

A DANGEROUS paedophile, who repeatedly molested a girl just months after he was released from jail for sending her sister sexually explicit texts, has been sent to prison for eight-and-a-half years.

Former youth worker Michael Heffernan, 57, was subject to an indefinite sexual offences prevention order at the time of his latest perverted behaviour.

He was banned from contacting, or associating with youngsters, and from having children at his house, unless supervised by an approved adult.

Heffernan, who was on crutches in the dock, was last week found guilty, by a jury, of one charge of assault by penetration, and four specimen counts of sexual assault, after a trial.

Heffernan, of Fir Street, Burnley, had denied the allegations, but admitted breaching the SOPO several times.

He was also put on five years’ extended licence, and received another sexual offences prevention order, under which he is not allowed to contact the victims, and is on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

The mother of the girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was earlier spared jail after admitting child neglect.

Heffernan was sent to prison for 16 months in August 2011, after he sent the schoolgirl sexually explicit messages.

He had been convicted of two allegations of inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity.

Police said then that Heffernan was considered to be a pillar of the community within the Stoops Estate area of Burnley, and was heavily involved with the local council, and youth groups, over the years.

The sentencing hearing, on Monday, was told how Heffernan groomed, and then sexually attacked, the vulnerable girl over two to three months.

Hugh Barton, defending, said Heffernan had had no convictions until the text message offences, and had had a ‘dramatic fall from grace’.

Judge Lunt told Heffernan there was a signifcant risk of him causing serious harm at least to the two girls, if not to other girls like them.

She said: “I am absolutely sure that you are a dangerous offender.”

March 2014

Burnley paedophile set to be jailed again

Michael Heffernan

A PAEDOPHILE is behind bars facing another jail term after he was convicted of a series of sex offences against a girl.

Ex-Burnley youth worker Michael Heffernan, 58, was found guilty of one charge of assault by penetration and four allegations of sexual assault, after a trial at Burnley Crown Court.

The jury cleared him of a charge of rape.

Heffernan, of Fir Street, Burnley, had denied the allegations.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Beverley Lunt and will be sentenced for the offences and also for breaching a sexual offences prevention order, next Monday.

Heffernan was locked up for 16 months in August 2011, after he sent sexually explicit text messages to a schoolgirl.

The defendant had been convicted of two charges of inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity.

He had been given the indefinite SOPO when he was sentenced and under the order he is banned from contacting or associating with youngsters, unless supervised by an approved adult.

Judge Lunt had told the defendant at the time that there was no alternative but to send him to prison as he had shown a worrying lack of empathy for his victim.

She had told the hearing: “The facts of the case evidence his perverted thinking and that his standing in the community was a sham.”

July 2013

Nelson sex offender (55) is back in court

A Nelson man pleaded guilty to breaching the conditions of a Sexual Offences Prevention order six times when he appeared before Burnley Crown Court.

Michael Heffernan (57), of Fir Street, admitted having contact with two females from whom he is banned and to failing to notify police a new address.

The court ruled there should be a not guilty verdict on an allegation of contacing another female.

A fourth allegation of child abduction was left to lie on the file.

In the same case, Ann xxxxxx, of Cornholme, pleaded guilty to cruelty to a child under 16 in that she exposed a girl to undue risk.

The case was adjourned until August 22nd for all-options pre-sentence reports on both defendants.

June 2013

Burnley ex-youth worker accused of child abduction

A FORMER youth worker from Burnley has appeared in court charged with a child abduction offence.

Michael Heffernan, 57, was also accused of breaching a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO), when he appeared before the town’s crown court.

Heffernan, who worked on the town’s Stoops Estate, was made the subject of a lifetime SOPO in August 2011 after he was convicted of sending sexually- explicit text messages to a 12-year-old girl.

He is banned from contacting, or associating, with youngsters, or having unsupervised children in his house.

Heffernan, of Fir Street, Burnley, did not enter any pleas to the new charges and was remanded in custody until July 15.

The court heard he is alleged to have associated with a youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at his home address, which had led to the breach and abduction charges on May 23.

Recorder Anthony Cross QC was also told by defence counsel Hugh Barton that his client was on police bail over an allegation of sexual touching in relation to a second youngster. Heffernan, who has mobility problems, would be told in early July whether he would be formally charged and prosecuted over the touching claims, the court heard.