August 2021

Paedophile predator who took boy into pub asked staff if he could rent a room

A paedophile who took a 13-year-old boy into a pub was caught when worried bar staff rang police, after he asked them if they rent out rooms.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been aged just 11 when he first met James Minshull in August 2017.

He had been staying at a friend’s home and Minshull, who knew the friend’s mum, was also staying in the house that night.

Minshull, then 30, woke the next morning with the victim lay on top of him but they were fully clothed, prosecution barrister Hayley Bennett told Bolton Crown Court.

He took the child out of the front door and locked it behind him, before they got on a bus to a bowling alley in Bury.

The child’s dad had agreed for the friend’s mum to take them to the fair but when it became apparent that he was no longer at the house, he was reported as missing.

The child, who had mistakenly left his mobile phone on the bus, later rang his dad from a phone at the bowling alley.

Ms Bennett told the court that the dad turned up at the bowling alley but they had both gone and later found them at the bus station.

“He was furious,” Ms Bennett said.

“He was however assured that nothing had happened and he informed the police that he had found his son and asked for the defendant to be warned, by the police, against any future contact with his son.”

Despite the warning, Minshull contacted the boy on Facebook less than two years later.

On May 7 2019, while aged 32, Minshull popped up to the boy, now 13, on Messenger to ‘apologise’ for what happened.

He asked the boy if he was gay and when he told him he was, Minshull told him he was too old for him, but later said ‘me and you it is then’ after the boy agreed to ‘stay quiet’.

The boy asked if Minshull wanted to see an explicit photograph of him and Minshull accepted, before sending one back.

They spoke into the early hours of May 8 and agreed to meet later that day, in Farnworth.

During the conversation, they had made reference to potentially performing a sexual act in the Asda toilets, but this is not said to have happened.

That afternoon, Minshull took the boy into the Market Hotel pub in Brackley Street but staff soon became concerned about the nature of the conversation.

They heard Minshull telling the boy to cover up his school uniform and asking if his phone was password protected.

Staff also heard Minshull make reference to photographs and told him not to show anyone.

Minshull, of Parsonage Street, Radcliffe, is said to have told the boy: “No one can see those pictures. It is only for you to know.

“I’ll give you a couple of quid in a bit but don’t tell anyone.

“Ring your mum and dad and let them know what you are doing but don’t mention me. Don’t tell them you’re with me”.

Minshull then asked staff if they rented out rooms at the pub and they became so concerned that they called the police.

When police arrived, they examined Minshull’s phone and found the indecent photographs of the boy.

When asked about them, Minshill said: “Yeah but he sent those to me. He’s the one saying he loves me.”

Minshull was arrested and during an interview, he denied being a paedophile.

He pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, meeting a child after sexual grooming, and abduction.

In a victim personal statement, the boy’s father said that his son had been quite well behaved before the incident but that his behaviour has deteriorated dramatically.

He said that he has been bullied from children who have heard about what has happened and that he was excluded from a school.

The man added that on one occasion, the victim took some of his Co-codamol tablets, which he believes was an attempt to end his life.

Ms Bennett told the court that although Minshull, now 35, has no previous for sexual offences, he was recently imprisoned for breaching a restraining order.

The judge, Recorder Jeremy Lasker sentenced Minshull to three years imprisonment.

He said: “When you were interviewed by police, you continued to shift responsibility for what had occurred onto the boy.

“You agreed that prior to the meeting there had been discussion about [sexual acts] but you said that had been instigated by the boy and in fact that you had no intention of any sexual contact between the two of you.

“I have to say that assertion is difficult to reconcile with all the other evidence.”

Recorder Lasker added: “You did really target this boy in my view

“The prospects for a successful non-custodial resolution are too slim for me to take a chance.”

Minshull will have to sign the sex offenders register and will be subject of a sexual harm prevention order for life.