September 2018

Pervert has front door kicked in by parent

A high-risk sex offender has been jailed after he put a child’s slide in his front garden and spoke to girls and boys who used it.

Luke Atherton was arrested after calling the police to protect him against parents who learned about his history of child abuse and attacked his home in Exeter.

He has 17 convictions in Scotland, Cheltenham and Plymouth going back to 2010 and was banned from any contact with girls under 16 by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

He has been jailed three times for underage sex or child abuse and was assessed as posing ‘a high risk of causing harm’ by a probation service assessment.

Atherton, 28, was living in Leypark Road in Exeter when he was seen talking to a brother and sister aged seven and eight, who were playing on the slide in his front garden in June this year.

Police were called after their father, who lived nearby, went to his home and kicked the door in, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Atherton admitted breaching a SOPO and was jailed for eight months by Judge Timothy Rose, who ordered that the SOPO and registration on the sex offenders register should continue indefinitely.

He told Atherton:”This is your third breach of the order and a serious matter.

“You are only 28 and the sheer number of your sexual offences against children is worrying. You are said to pose a high risk of causing harm by further offending.

“You yourself called the police as a result of the fallout from this incident. You were with your partner and it is not clear if you breached the order out of sheer stupidity or as a precursor to considering further offending.

“I agree it is not clear that your intention was to groom this child but it remains serious.”

Miss Emmi Wilson, prosecuting, said Atherton called police on June 28 to complain that a neighbour had kicked in his door.

She said:”There was tension in the area as a result of him being a convicted sex offender. He disclosed he had contact with children.

“The neighbour saw his two children playing on a slide in Atherton’s front garden and he and his girlfriend were talking to them. The neighbour said he had seen other children playing on the slide four or five times.”

Atherton has convictions dating back to his teens. He was jailed for under age sex in Scotland in 2010 and for sexual activity with children in Cheltenham in 2011 and 2015.

He broke the SOPO twice while living at Hermitage Road, Plymouth. He got a job at a fairground in the city and was seen lifting girls on and off rides. He was also seen hanging around the gates of a primary school in Exeter.

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.”