August 2016

‘Dangerous’ paedophile kept in custody


A JUDGE said it seemed to him that a 30-year-old sex offender was “at this moment a dangerous man”.

Judge David Hale said he would be failing in his duty if he did not consider dangerousness and an extended sentence in the case of Darrell Mercer of Water Street, Abergele.

He was remanded in custody until next month to obtain a pre-sentence report.

Mercer had already pleaded guilty to three charges of downloading images of children, two of them of babies

At Caernarfon Crown Court on Friday he also admitted two other charges – possessing indecent photographs of a child and also a prohibited image of a child.

Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said Mercer was a registered sex offender, with offences going back to 2002, where a nine-year-old girl was involved, and in 2013 being jailed for four years for trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence against a girl of 10.

A previous hearing was told that involved creeping into the bedroom of the girl and grabbing her around the neck.

Mr Curtis said Mercer was now back in prison, his licence having been activated.

Michael Whitty, defending, said Mercer had spent time in the Ablett psychiatric unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, because of his own concern about his mental health.

November 2013

Pervert jailed after trying to sexually assault 9-year-old in her bed

A pervert intruder who grabbed a girl of 9 after disturbing her as she dozed in bed has been jailed for four years.

The terrified youngster kicked and punched out at Darrell Mercer, 28, who was convicted of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offence.

The experience had a terrible effect on her, she was scared of living in her own home and now carried a personal alarm with her at all times.

Judge Paul Thomas QC told him that the effect on his victim had been profound and devastating.

Sentencing him at Mold Crown Court via a television link from Swansea, the judge said the offence was “brazen”. He was totally without self control as a result of drinking or taking drugs. “You went to this young girl’s bedroom in order to sexually assault her,” he said.

It was beyond the realms of credibility that Mercer, of Prestatyn, simply happened upon a bedroom containing a young girl. “In my view you knew that there was a young girl in that house,” he said.

The judge said that he could not be sure that the defendant intended rape, but he clearly had a sexual assault in mind.

“The effect of what you did to this young girl was profound.

“She no longer feels safe in her own home, she wants to move out, and has nightmares on a frequent basis.

“At the age of 9 she feels to need to carry an alarm with her everywhere. You have turned her young life upside down. I can only hope that time will change that situation.”

It was not the first time that Mercer had assaulted a young girl – he had sexually assaulted a nine-year-old when he was aged 16 or 17 and there were elements of that case which were similar, the judge said.

In addition to the four year sentence, Mercer was placed on the sex offender’s register for life. A sexual offender’s prevention order was made and the judge warned him that any future sexual offence would lead to “an extremely long sentence indeed”.

The girl had told a jury she opened her eyes one night last April and saw him, smelling of alcohol, crouched above her. She screamed and crawled out of her bed but he had grabbed her wrist and then gripped the girl’s throat during her ordeal.

“I was really scared,” the girl said in a video interview played to the jury at the earlier trial.

After the child screamed, her mother ran upstairs and met Mercer on the landing and tried to take hold of him.

He gave a false name and claimed he thought it was his house and he had to lie down because he had hurt his leg.

Police were called and the prosecutor said Mercer walked away from the house. But he’d left behind a red and grey jacket and a BlackBerry mobile phone.

Mercer admitted assaulting the girl by grabbing her wrist and neck. The girl’s mother said the youngster had been “hysterical”, shaking and crying.

The mum had been watching TV downstairs when she heard the front door being pushed open and she got up and heard screaming.

Prosecuting barrister Caroline Harris told the court of the impact the experience had on the girl.

She remained very frightened, she did not want to leave her mother’s side and now could not sleep in her own bed and slept with her mother.

“I don’t want to live in the same house anymore,” she said in a victim impact statement.

“I feel frightened when upstairs, I feel frightened downstairs, I feel frightened when I hear the door open or close. I hate being on my own. I don’t want to sleep in my bed anymore.”

She revealed that she had nightmares about strange men going into her room with a chainsaw wanting to hurt her.

At the time she thought that Mercer was going to suffocate her.

She branded her attacker “selfish and mean” and said he must have been delusional or “out of his head”.

The victim told how she had been given a personal alarm by the police and carried it wither everywhere – but still did not feel safe.

“This man has changed my life,” she said.

She now felt cautious about everything, particularly when it got dark.

Simon Rogers, defending, said that his client was considered a high risk of harm to children.

That risk could be reduced by drug and alcohol abstinence and an intensive sex offender programme which would be part of his licence conditions on his release.

Judge Thomas said that he hoped the licence conditions would be strictly enforced and monitored.