March 2018

Sex offender who lied about past jailed for abusing nine-year-old girl

A sex offender who lied about his past has been jailed for abusing a nine-year-old girl.

Paul O’Connor started a relationship with a woman without telling her he had previously served a jail sentence for having under age sex with a 14-year-old in Taunton.

His partner looked after a friend’s twin girls at weekends and O’Connor stayed the night in the same house, despite being subject to a court order to stay away from children.

He assaulted one of the girls in the middle of the night by climbing into bed with her and putting his hand inside her underwear.

O’Connor, aged 30, of Batson Gardens, Torquay, admitted sexual assault on a child and breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) and was jailed for three years and six months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:”Your girlfriend was blissfully unaware of your past. She was absolutely mortified when she learned the true nature of your background.

“You stayed with her overnight on occasions when the girls were spending the night with her. On one occasion when you had been drinking alcohol to excess and your partner was sleeping, you went to the bedroom where the girls were sleeping.

“What you did had a significant impact on a young girl. You damaged the trust which a child would normally place in adults and damaged what should have been her carefree years, when she should be able to go out freely and without anxiety.

“It is clear to me that you took advantage of a sleeping girl, hoping you would get away with it.”

The judge said the sexual assault was more serious because of O’Connor’s previous conviction and his flouting of the SOPO, which had been put in place to protect children.

Joss Pinehurst, prosecuting, said O’Connor started a relationship with a woman in Torbay without telling her he was a registered sex offender.

He did not disclose either his conviction or the fact he was banned from unsupervised contact with children, even when she started babysitting a friend’s twin daughters on overnight visits.

On the night of the assault he was sleeping with his partner in another room but got up when she was asleep and got into bed with the twins.

One of them woke up as he came into the room and the other awoke to find he was assaulting her.

Mr Kevin Hopper, defending, said O’Connor has been assessed as suitable for a sex offenders’ course in the community, which would offer better long-term protection to the public than a jail sentence.

O’Connor’s previous conviction was in July 2009 when he was jailed at Taunton Crown Court for offences of sexual activity with a child. T

These involved having full sex with a 14-year-old girl after plying her with alcohol.