July 2009

Serial sex attacker molested four-year-old girl after giving police his address as ‘park bench’

A known sex offender, who was allowed to register his address as a park bench, abused a four-year-old girl despite being arrested by police three times before. 

A report released from an internal investigation from West Mercia police has revealed the shocking failings surrounding pervert John McGrath.

It found that the 49-year-old homeless McGrath, from Birmingham, was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and released just days before abusing the young girl.

Officers allowed him to walk free despite his 98 previous convictions, including assault with intent to rape and a sex attack on a policewoman.

Homeless McGrath had been allowed to live rough in the Midlands before abusing the little girl, after registering his official address as a public bench.

Despite his long history of serious offending, he was free to wander from Birmingham to Redditch where his victim lived.

Her caring mother had invited McGrath into her home after spotting him begging and later discovered him abusing her daughter.

Yet an investigation discovered that the pervert was arrested three times by West Mercia Police for being drunk and disorderly in the week before the attack.

Each time he was locked up and then released.

But a confidential internal force inquiry later found that while custody officers carried out basic local checks and Police National Computer checks, they failed to realise that he was a sex offender who needed to officially register his whereabouts.

And instead of releasing the pervert they should have contacted the West Midlands force who would have carried out inquiries into McGrath’s movements.

A source said: ‘His last sexual conviction before the attack on the girl was an attack on a policewoman.

‘After that he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register, but because he was homeless he was allowed to register his address as a Birmingham bench.

‘If West Mercia cops who arrested him three times in one week had realised that he was a sex offender in Birmingham, they would have been required to notify West Midlands Police who could have looked into his movements.’

McGrath’s previous convictions included assault with intent to rape in 1997, for which he was jailed for four years.

It was in the autumn of 2006, that the pervert wandered from Birmingham to Redditch.

His young victim’s mother had noticed McGrath begging in a subway and invited him to her home where he was given a meal and a bed.

But the horrified parents later discovered him naked in bed with their semi-clad daughter.

McGrath was originally charged with attempted rape but this charge was not proceeded with. He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child at Worcester Crown Court in June 2007.

The case heard how he molested the child within hours of being invited into the family’s home.

He had one hand over her mouth and the other round her waist and said: ‘You’re spoiling my fun.’

McGrath wept as the judge gave him an indeterminate sentence for public protection.