Paedophile Gary Loftus jailed after befriending Taunton family
A serial offending paedophile from Devon befriended a Taunton family and bought sweets for their young child.
High-risk abuser Gary Loftus has been jailed for hanging around a seafront play park and leering at the children there.
Loftus has a history of child abuse dating back 35 years and has served a string of jail sentences for molesting children or flouting court orders.
He was subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning him from play areas and from befriending families with young children.
Loftus was reported to police after being seen at a play park on the Esplanade, Paignton, where he walked around the perimeter for up to an hour while appearing to touch himself.
He had previously visited Exmouth seafront with a family with young children before going to their home in Taunton and buying sweets for their six-year-old daughter.
He had been out of jail for less than a year for similar offences in Teignmouth when he breached the SHPO again in December 2019.
Loftus, 67, of of Wellesley Road, Torquay, admitted two counts of breaching a SHPO and was jailed for 16 months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge told him: “It is the assessment of the probation service that you pose a high risk of causing serious harm to children.
“When you cultivated friendship with families with young children, you knew who you were and what you should and should not be doing.
“When you went to the play area, you put yourself in that position.
“You have done it before and were doing it again.
“There was an element of a grooming situation where you could get gratification from the presence of a child, even if it was not possible to act on it.
“Imagine the reaction of the mother on hearing that the man who was hanging around her six-year-old is actually a sex offender with multiple convictions.
“The parents of the children in the play area would be appalled to know that a sex offender had stopped awhile to look at their children, because that is what he wanted to do.
“You know what you have done and here you are doing it all over again.”
Ian Graham, prosecuting, said Loftus befriended a family in December 2019 and visited an arcade in Exmouth with them before going to their home in June 2020 and buying sweets for their daughter.
He was arrested in September 2020 after being seen walking around the outside of a play area at Paignton seafront that was full of young children.
He later accepted he was gaining sexual gratification by looking at the children.
He has previous convictions for 19 offences and was jailed in 1989 for indecent assault, in 1993 for gross indecency and in 2002 for breaking an order to stay away from a child.
He has been jailed twice for breaking a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed in 2009, which was updated to a SHPO by the time he was jailed in August 2018 for ingratiating himself with a single mother in Teignmouth without telling her about his past.
Paedophile seen watching children at Devon play park facing jail
A paedophile from Torquay is facing jail after he was seen watching children at a play park.
Gary Loftus was banned from going near children under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order but broke it by visiting the park in South Devon
He has already been jailed once for breaking the order by befriending a family with children without telling them he was a registered sex offender
A judge at Exeter Crown Court ordered a fact-finding hearing into the new case because 67-year-old Loftus claims he walked past the playground rather than stopping and leering at the children.
Judge Timothy Rose said that one witness saw Loftus standing behind a wall near the play area and touching himself sexually for up to an hour.
He said it would make a substantial difference to the sentence but warned Loftus that he is almost certainly going to jail when the case returns to court next month.
He said: ”We need to resolve the issue of whether he was hanging around for an hour and masturbating or just walking past and glancing at the children.
“He can stay on bail, but that is no indication of sentence. It is just about impossible to think of any other outcome other than a prison sentence.”
Loftus, aged 67, of of Wellesley Road, Torquay, admitted two counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.