January 2007

Paedophile to be detained indefinitely

A PSYCHIATRIC patient found guilty of sexual activity with a child has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for the protection of the public.

Leonard Ayres committed the crime on one of 19 occasions when he absconded from St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, Bournemnouth Crown Court was told.

The 37-year-old, who has a history of 28 previous convictons covering 73 offences, committed the offence against a 14-year-old girl on April 18 last year, the judge was told.

Described as a risk to the public, Ayres’ previous convictions include offences of violence, burglary and indecent exposure.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr David Scull told the court: “He is reckless. Things just happen around him because he does not think of the consequences of his actions.”

And when asked by Judge John Harrow if Ayres is capable of causing serious harm to others, Dr Scull said: “Yes, there is no doubt about that.”

Ayres, who has been resident at St Ann’s for the past 14 months, was convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 following a trial in December. He mantained that he thought the girl was 16 but, sentencing, Judge Harrow said: “In my judgement you were aware that your victim was under 16.

“You are a potential danger to the public. Your previous behaviour has indicated that you will soon resort to alcohol and illicit drugs with the result that this mix will cause you to behave unpredictably.”

Judge Harrow made a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act and a restriction order under section 41.

Ayres was banned from working with those under the age of 18 indefinitely and was also given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order to ensure he is not in the company of any female under 16 unless there is another adult present. His direct family was excluded from the order.