July 2018: Now living in Whipton area of Exeter

March 2014

Freed sex offender jailed after teachers spot him outside Exeter school

A convicted sex offender has been jailed after he defied an order to stay away from children and was spotted by teachers waiting outside a school in Exeter.

Luke Atherton was banned from having any contact with people under 16 because he has two different convictions for under age sex.

He broke the Sexual Offences Prevention Order when he was supposed to be under supervision at a post-release hostel but started a relationship with a mother who had two daughters.

He went with her to pick up the older child at a school in Exeter and teachers became alarmed because they noticed the girl was worried about going towards him

The mother broke off the relationship as soon as she was told about his past by police and social workers.

Atherton was on the sex offenders’ register after being jailed for under age sex in Scotland in 2010 and sexual activity with a child in Cheltenham in 2011. Both cases involved girls aged 14 to 16.

He had been out of prison on parole for seven months and was living at a post-release hostel in Plymouth when he started a relationship with the mother-of-two in Exeter.

He was also subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which required him to notify both the mother and social services if he moved into any home where children were living.

Atherton, of Hermitage Road, Plymouth, admitted breach of the SOPO and was jailed for eight months by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:”You started a relationship with the mother of two young girls and spent time with them and were observed at school, where for whatever reason, one of them appeared uncomfortable.

“It clearly caused concern for the teachers who observed what was going on. This was the clearest possible breach of the order.”

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said:”On his release he was placed in a probation hostel in Plymouth and registered as he was required to do.

“In the early part of last year he started a relationship with a young woman in Exeter which developed into a sexual relationship. She had two daughters, then aged nine and four.

“The defendant accompanied his girlfriend when she went to pick up the older girl from school and waited outside with her. A teaching assistant recalls the girl looking uncomfortable and withdrawn when she was aware of him being with her mother.”

She said Atherton’s first conviction was for unlawful sexual intercourse at Forfar Sherriff’s Court and his second was at Gloucester Crown Court in March 2011 when he was jailed for 38 months.

He was released to the hostel in Plymouth on July 25, 2012 and started his relationship with the mother in February 2013. It ended when social workers intervened on March 28, 2013.

November 2010

Luke Atherton jailed for under-age sex after rape claim

An Angus man who found himself the subject of a false rape allegation has been imprisoned for having unlawful sex with the 14-year-old girl who made the claim.

Luke Atherton groomed the girl for sexual activity in a Brechin park, but when the girl later learned that he had also kissed her sister she told police he had raped her.

At Forfar Sheriff Court, 20-year-old Atherton appeared for sentence having earlier admitted having unlawful sex with the girl at the rear of Park View and Viewbank Place, Brechin, on June 13.

The court heard that Atherton, formerly of Angus and now living in Cheltenham, is on remand for a serious offence against another child south of the border.

Sheriff Kevin Veal sent Atherton to a young offenders’ institution for six months and placed him on the sex offenders register for seven years.

“These laws are in place as much to protect the girls from themselves as from others and it is quite clear that she was only 14 at the time,” he said.

“In light of the full circumstances, the only appropriate disposal is one of immediate custody.”

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