Paedophile back behind bars for breaching court order in Alloa
A CHILD sex offender has been given a four-month prison term for making contact with children in Alloa.
Richard Carnwath (45) was convicted of breaking the terms of an interim Sexual Offences Protection Order (SOPO).
He appeared at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday (26 February) for sentencing following the completion of social work reports.
The offence took place on 9 January 2015 when he was living at Tarragon House, Mar Place, in Alloa.
Carnwath has previously served a significant prison sentence following a conviction for serious sexual offences against children.
He served his sentence at HMP Glenochil and was released in the middle of December of last year.
Upon his liberation, he was made subject to an interim SOPO which banned him from making contact with anyone under the age of 16, save for incidental or unavoidable interactions.
However, on 9 January he went to his friend’s house in Alva where he knew young children would be present in advance.
Depute fiscal Marie-Claire Chaffey said: “He told his friend had been in prison for robbery and stabbing someone; he made no mention of the sexual offence prevention order to which he is subject to.
“He was clearly aware of the children being present and made no effort to leave.
“At no point was he left alone with them and the police report states that he made no efforts to engage with them at all.
“However, the partner of the accused’s friend then became uneasy as she noticed he was paying extra attention to her older daughter.
“She said she saw him staring at her daughter and when he saw she was observing him doing this, he quickly looked away.” Members of the family later became aware of Carnwath’s past and soon reported the matter to the police.
A few days after he had visited his friend’s house, Carnwath called him and asked him to deny that he was ever present in his home.
After being interviewed by police, he was arrested and charged.
He then admitted the offence at a hearing at Alloa Sheriff Court on Monday (2 February).
In mitigation, defence lawyer Claire McCarron said: “Mr Carnwath fully accepts responsibility for this offence, and although it is a breach, it is not at the top end of the offence scale.
“The report here is concerning, especially with regards to his actions after visiting the house.
“His position is that, following his release, he was trying to get to some normality and to engage in a typical social setting.
“Any custodial sentence which may be imposed is likely only to be a short one, so perhaps it would be in the public interest to impose an extended period of supervision and allow Mr Carnwath to remain in the community.” SOPOs are intended to protect the public from any risk posed by liberated sex offenders by placing restrictions on their behaviour.
They are only ever granted when it has been decided the subject continues to present a risk of serious sexual harm to the public or to particular sections of the public.
Sheriff Simon Collins noted the degree in ‘planning’ that Carnwath exhibited during this offence and found that custody was the only course of action to take.
He said: “Mr Carnwath, I have considered all that has been said from the prosecution and on your behalf and I am satisfied that there is no alternative to custody here.
“It is concerning the level of planning involved in your gaining access to these children as well as your subsequent attempts to cover your tracks.
“And so in these circumstances, there is simply no other option before the court today.” Sheriff Collins ordered that Carnwath serve a sentence of four months, reduced from five months, which is backdated to 14 January 2015.