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.

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