January 2020

Convicted child sex offender jailed after befriending young family in Leeds

A convicted child sex offender who breached a court order by befriending a Leeds family with children has been jailed.

Mark Watson introduced himself to the family and stayed in regular contact with them over the next five months.

The 37-year-old ate takeouts in the family’s home, hosted them in his flat and held one of the children’s hands as they crossed a road together.

Leeds Crown Court heard Watson had been jailed for two years and two months in 2000 after indecently assaulting several children then made subject to a sexual offences prevention order nine years later.

Prosecutor Carmel Pearson said the order banned him from doing a large amount of activities with children, including contacting them, inviting them into his home and going to playgrounds or parks that were mainly designed for children’s use.

She said he had first breached the order in 2011 and had been jailed for 18 months.

He then breached the order for the second time in 2013.

On one of those occasions, he had attended a psychiatric hospital saying he needed help because he had befriended a person with young children and was having sexual fantasies about them.

Last year, Watson’s probation officer contacted his offender manager because he had admitted recently befriending another family with children.

Police contacted the children’s mother who provided a statement saying he had introduced himself to the family and invited them all up to his flat a few weeks later.

She said they had a ‘pleasant’ time and spending time together became a regular occurrence.

Watson was invited over to their home where they ate takeouts.

On one occasion, they walked to a park together and Watson held one of the children’s hands as they all crossed a road together.

The woman said she would not have allowed Watson near her children if she had known he was a convicted child sex offender.

Miss Pearson said there was no suggestion in the statement that Watson had been alone with the children.

Watson, of Westbourne Street, Beeston, Leeds, pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order.