March 2015

Sex offender lived in household which included teenage girl for more than a year without notifying authorities


A REGISTERED sex offender breached notification requirements by failing to report moving to a new address, where a teenage girl was living.

Michael James Johnston was living at the address in County Durham after moving in with the girl’s mother more than a year before it came to light, last November.

Durham Crown Court heard that it surfaced when the girl was asked at school about a mark on her face, and she replied that it may have been caused by her step-father.

Robin Turton, prosecuting, said social services were informed and it was discovered 29-year-old Johnston was living at the girl’s family home.

He was arrested and interviewed, and admitted having failed to comply with the terms of his requirement to register as a sex offender by not informing the relevant authorities where he was living at the time.

Johnston was required to sign as a sex offender as a result of a conviction relating to sexually explicit communication with an underage girl, for which he was sentenced to an 18-month community payback order, as an alternative to custody, at Dumfries Sheriff’s Court, in Scotland, in July, 2013.

He was said to have moved in with the woman in County Durham, in October that year, just months after they first met.

Mr Turton said Johnston should have reported a change of address within three days, and police should have been informed within a week of where he was living and that someone under 18 was living also resident.

Johnston, of Newton Aycliffe, who appeared in court via video link from Holme House Prison, Stockton, admitted three counts of failing to comply with the requirements as a sex offender.

Jailing him for six months, Judge Christopher Prince said: “The defendant has come into contact with a teenage girl living in the same house for a significant period of time.

“That’s quite a serious breach, bringing himself into proximity with a young person in the same household.”

The court was told Johnston is still to go back before Dumfries Sheriff Court for breaching the order made there in 2013.