October 2016

Wirral teen avoids jail despite abusing young girls

A Wirral teenager who preyed on younger girls today avoided jail for his sick crimes.

Darren Lavin left one victim so distraught she made a heartbreaking video revealing the abuse in a brave bid to encourage others to seek help.

But the 19-year-old was spared jail today after the court heard he was making considerable progress on a sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme.

Lavin’s offences were detailed to Judge Clement Goldstone QC at his sentencing hearing this morning.

The abuse he dealt out was discovered by the family of one of his victims when they found a harrowing video she had posted online.

The girl had set the clip to music and held up flash cards revealing how she had been sexually abused by him.

That video was today praised by Judge Goldstone as “an astonishingly mature and brave thing for her to do”.

Lavin also assaulted a younger girl and encouraged her to touch him sexually during the same period.

He pleaded guilty to the offences relating to that victim, but was found guilty after a trial of the offences revealed by the video clip.

John Weate, defending, said Lavin had suffered a “dysfunctional” lifestyle and that he himself was a child when the offences were committed.

He said Lavin was making good progress on a rehabilitation programme and added: “He has perhaps got more insight than ever before. He’s working hard with a good structure behind him and in the long term the public are to be best protected if this progress continues.”

Noting that progress Judge Goldstone, who was sentencing Lavin for multiple sexual assaults, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, decided against jailing the defendant.

While he accepted Lavin had been “well on the path to becoming a sexual predator”, he had been encouraged by his rehabilitation.

He said: “You have shown that there is, or at least may be, a different side to your character. You have at least clearly begun to benefit from the [rehabilitation] programme.”

Although he did not jail Lavin, of Bridge Street in Birkenhead , he warned: “You fail at your peril” and ordered updates on his progress to be reported to him every four months.