A registered sex offender has been jailed for befriending a family with two young children without revealing his background as a child abuser.
Garry Loftus stayed in the same house as the girl and boy aged 13 and 11 and bought chocolates and ice creams for them and children who lived next door.
The parents had no idea that 64-year-old Loftus was on the Sex Offenders Register (SOR) and subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which banned unsupervised contact with children.
He should have told the parents about his convictions but failed to do so until his police offender manager became suspicious about his contact with the family, who lived in Teignmouth.
It is the third time he has breached a SOPO and his behaviour was described as ‘a patient grooming strategy’ in a risk assessment.
Loftus, of Wellesley Road, Torquay, admitted two counts of breaching a SOPO and one of breaching a SOR and was jailed for a year by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: ‘You breached these orders repeatedly. I accept you did not have unsupervised contact with the children but I have read the probation report which says your behaviour had all the hallmarks of a patient grooming strategy.
‘You were fully aware of the order. You have been given a chance with a suspended sentence in the past. There is no option to immediate custody.’
Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said Loftus befriended the parents, who ran a business in Teignmouth, and offered to work for them.
They let him do odd jobs and allowed him to stay at their home on two occasions, once when they needed help moving house, and once when they were going to a car boot sale early the next morning.
Miss Pitts said: ‘Loftus also sat in the back of the mother’s car when she picked up the children from school sometimes. He gave the children chocolate bars and ice cream.
‘The parents did not know he was a registered sex offender. They say if they had known that, there is no way they would have allowed contact with their children.’