May 2021

‘High-risk’ Scots predator John Bermingham faces life in jail for sexually abusing girls aged 8 & 14

A notorious Scottish sex predator is facing a life sentence after he was convicted of preying on more underage victims.

John Bermingham, 54, repeatedly subjected girls aged eight and 14 to horrific sexual abuse.

The beast also exposed himself to a boy and instructed him to look at his erect penis and subjected an adult woman to attacks during which the trained boxer treated her as a “punch bag”.

He had denied a string of charges during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but was found guilty of four offences of indecent behaviour towards children and one of assault.

Bermingham did not give evidence during his trial but after the unanimous verdicts were returned, he said: “It’s a joke It’s an absolute joke.”

Advocate depute Lisa Gillespie QC told the court: “I am told he is currently assessed as a very high-risk sex offender.”

The Crown made a motion for the court to make a full risk assessment order in Bermingham’s case, which can result in the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

Under an OLR, the court fixes a minimum period the offender must spend in prison, but parole authorities then determine any future release taking into account public safety.

Bermingham’s lawyer, Gary Allan QC, told the trial judge that he formally opposed the Crown motion.

Lord Fairley deferred sentence on Bermingham for the preparation of a background report and said he would continue the motion for a risk assessment order.

The case was adjourned until June 10 at the High Court in Glasgow. Bermingham was remanded in custody and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

The predator started abusing the girls at addresses in the Muirhouse and Pilton area of the capital in 1999 – and the torment continued over the next two years.

One girl was molested by him when she was aged 14 and 15 at houses in the city.

The second girl was subjected to abuse from the age of eight until she was 10. The boy was aged 13 or 14 when Bermingham exposed himself.

But one victim told the court that the abuse began earlier and that she as a child heard the other girl crying, screaming and asking Bermingham to stop as he abused her at a house in England.

The woman, now aged 30, told the court: “He would tell her to shut up.”

And she said that on occasions it looked like they were having sex, adding: “Just him on top of her and he was pulling her hair as she was screaming and crying. She was saying ‘stop’.”

Bermingham had also targeted her for abuse and exposed himself to her and children camping near Loch Lomond.

The other female victim, who was abused by him at addresses in Edinburgh from the age of 14, said: “I would try to fight him off, but I wouldn’t win.

“I didn’t like it. I would try to push him off or I would try and grab his hands, but he was easily too strong. He would just tell me to be quiet.”

The victim said Bermingham frequently targeted her for abuse.

Bermingham was originally jailed in 2002 for nine years for attempting to rape an 11-year-old girl and carrying out a sex attack on a teenage nursing assistant.

Severe restrictions were placed on him following his release aimed at preventing further sexual offending but he has been jailed for breaching the court order imposed on him.

September 2018

Pervert jailed for wearing series of disguises when he was put under surveillance

One of the country’s most dangerous sex offenders has been jailed for trying to fool police by wearing a series of disguises when he was put under surveillance.

John Bermingham approached a woman just a week after walking free from court on charges of attempting to abduct two little girls.

The beast, already banned from having anything other than “incidental” conversations with women, involved the 59-year-old in a “strange” conversation about a dog she was walking.

Officers who arrested Bermingham found he was carrying three different hats, two different pairs of glasses and a spare jacket.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Bermingham, 52, was subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed eight years ago – banning him from approaching or communicating with any woman who is not a relative.

Samantha Brown, prosecuting, said that in May, police keeping tabs on Bermingham noted that he was “changing his clothing in the course of the day”. She added: “In particular, a hat was changed for a hat of a different colour.”

He was seen approaching a woman near the Union Canal in Falkirk as she was walking a neighbour’s dog.

Brown said: “He smiled at her and made a clicking noise to get the attention of the dog, approached her, and knelt down and starting patting the dog and asking her questions about it.

“When she went to move on, he asked her if she had her own dog. She thought that question a bit strange.”

Bermingham was arrested about an hour later as he came out of a local shop.

Bermingham, of Falkirk, pleaded guilty to breaching his SOPO.

Jailing Bermingham for three years, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson said: “What is of more concern to me is that you were clearly intent on breaching this order.

“You had changed your appearance once during the course of this surveillance, and you went equipped to facilitate further changes.” As he was led handcuffed from the courtroom, Bermingham shouted that he had been “set up again”.

In his High Court case, Bermingham had been accused of trying to seize the little girls from Glenburn Road, Falkirk.

The jury heard evidence from the little girls who couldn’t identify him and found the charges not proven.

The court had heard from Viper MacDonald, 49, who claimed he saw a man with the little girls from the window of his home restrained Bermingham with the help of a 17-year-old boy. Bermingham shouted: “I’m no a f****n paedo”.

The pervert was jailed for 12 years in 2001 for sex attacks on two girls.

May 2018

Sex offender arrested for breaching of his prevention order

A convicted sex offender appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court this week charged with breaching his sexual offences prevention order.

John Bermingham (51) appeared on petition on Monday.

A Crown Office spokesman said he faced two charges under section 113 of the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which makes it an offence not to comply with the conditions of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order or an interim Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Bermingham, of Falkirk, made neither plea nor declaration at the brief, private, hearing.

Sheriff Linda Smith continued the case for further examination and remanded Bermingham in custody.

He will be brought back to court for a further hearing within seven days.

November 2010

Sex beast locked up for breaching tagging order

A notorious sex beast has been jailed for twelve months after being caught outside his home for 15 minutes.

John Bermingham was jailed for 12 years in 2001 for vicious sex attacks on two girls.

He tried to rape an 11-year-old girl, who was walking home from a dance class when he forced her behind a library in Edinburgh’s Newington district.

Then, just over an hour later, he forced an 18-year-old nursing assistant into bushes and lay on top of her with his hand over her mouth. The teenager managed to escape.

Jailing father-of-five Bermingham, Lord Hamilton described the attacks as “appalling, despicable and grave”.  The 43-year-old was released in 2008 after serving just half of the term.

On Thursday, the sex offender was back behind bars for breaking the terms of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order(SOPO), which was designed to protect childrenand young girls from him.

The court heard that on February 11 this year at Falkirk Sheriff Court, Central Scotland Police Chief Constable Kevin Smith’s request for a SOPO was granted, which prohibited Bermingham from leaving his address between 7pm and 7am each day unless required to do so for “urgent preservation of life and limb”.

On May 30 his tag detected him as being outside his flat in Arnold Street, Falkirk for a period of 15 minutes. Police arrived at his door that night to try and find out where he was but had no response.

When he was eventually contacted the next day, he denies he ever left the house maintaining that he was lying in a drunken stupor and did not hear them at his door. However, a jury rejected Bermingham’s claims and he was found guilty of breaking the terms of his order without a reasonable excusable.

Alistair Kennedy, prosecuting, urged Sheriff WilliamGallacher to remit the case to the High Court, who could impose a life long restriction of liberty order on Bermingham.

He said: “The raison d’etre of this order is to prevent sexual offending. His refusal to follow such an order shows a propensity he may commit a sexual offence. This order is in place to prevent sexual offending and he has deliberately breached that order. In my submission the case should be remitted to the high court.”

Jim Rhodes, defending, said the case should not be remitted to the High Court because the nature of the breach was the “most minor imaginable”.

He said: “Clearly these orders are set out to protect the public, but he has no analogous convictions for this matter, and I ask for you to deal with this today.”

Sheriff Gallacher decided against remitting the case to the high court, and jailed him for 12 months. Bermingham, who was handcuffed to a Reliance officer, showed no emotion as he was led back to the cell.

The former boxer was described as “an extremely dangerous man” after he was jailed in 2001 following his dramatic arrest at the end of a police chase through Scotland. The sex attacker won a legal battle earlier this year to overturn an order banning him from buses during school travel times.

He was arrested after he allegedly breached his SOPO by travelling on buses in Carronshore and Falkirk.

However, in March this year three judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh were told there had been a change in the Sexual Offences Prevention Order conditions which no longer includes the bus ban.

Both of Bermingham’s sons are also in prison and his brother is serving life for the murder of a 21-year-old woman.

Jonathan Bermingham, 20, was given a life sentence in March 2009 for luring a 14-year-old boy into woods before raping him.

He had earlier been jailed for five years in 2003 after he admitted sodomising a nine-year-old boy in Callendar Woods, Falkirk.

Bermingham’s other son William, 22, was caged for life in March 2006 for trying to take a female prison officer hostage with a knife.

He had already been jailed for five years for the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl.

Bermingham’s brother Duncan, 43, murdered Rachel Thacker, 22, in Manchester in 1996.