Convicted paedophile beaten and covered in paint walks free from court
A convicted paedophile who went on the run before being caught by vigilantes in south Armagh has walked free from court.
Jason Lydiard, 25, originally from Bessbrook, was one of two men beaten, tied to a bench, and covered in paint in April of this year.
James White – a convicted child rapist – and Lydiard had evaded the police radar, despite strict conditions following their subsequent release from prison.
When White and Lydiard were found by locals in Mullaghbawn, they were kicked and beaten with iron bars, according to investigating officers at the time.
The two men had been hiding out in the nearby Glendesha Forest and even had a priest attempt to intervene in the matter.
Lydiard, who had nine previous convictions for sexual assault and threats to kill, was released from custody earlier this year.
However, he appeared before Newry Crown Court on Thursday on charges related to the fact he left the jurisdiction on February 15, following his release without prior permission of the PSNI – and his whereabouts also unknown.
Lydiard admitted to breaching conditions of two Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO) by failing to inform the authorities of his whereabouts and attending probation meetings.
He was given a conditional discharge on the first breach, and was handed a two-month custodial sentence for the second breach, but walked free having spent some time in custody.
Priest pleaded with group to stop attack on sex offenders
A priest pleaded with a large vigilante group to stop their violent attack on two convicted paedophiles on the run from police in south Armagh.
Local priest Fr John Heagney attempted to calm the situation, which saw people with iron bars, beat and kick James White and Alexis Gusto in Mullaghbawn on Saturday evening.
One eye-witness said she couldn’t believe the two men, who were eventually tied to a bench and covered in paint, were still alive following the vicious assault.
“They kicked them in the head. They beat them with sticks. They jeered. They took pictures of them,” she told the BBC.
“I thought one of them was dead.
“We went for the priest and he immediately came down and tried to plead with them. I know they had to be taken out of the community – but not like that.”
It is understood the two men had been hiding out in the nearby Glendesha Forest.
White and Gusto were put behind bars again after they were discharged from hospital over the weekend.
Gusto – also known as James Lydiard – appeared at Newry Crown Court on Monday morning on a bench warrant and has been remanded in custody.
White was conveyed straight to prison from hospital.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the events surrounding the pair’s apprehension and subsequent assault over the weekend.