A “high risk sex offender” started a relationship with a mum and befriended her three daughters.
Darren Duncan, 36, was once jailed for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl in Scotland.
But he has repeatedly breached court orders and is described as continuing to live “a life of lies and deceit”.
READ MORE: Paedophile says ‘only death will cure me’
A court today heard he started dating a mum-of-four in St Helens, who has three girls and a boy, all aged under 16.
Before long he was staying at their home, playing with the children, and even took one girl out shopping “just the two of them”.
Duncan is subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), which bans him from having contact with any female under the age of 16, apart from when it’s “inadvertent or unavoidable”.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Duncan breached the SOPO by failing to inform his offender manager he was in a relationship with the woman, between May 2019 and February 2020.
Peter Killen, prosecuting, said Duncan also stayed at the family’s address, which continued until he was jailed in June 2019 for four unsanctioned trips to Amsterdam.
While in jail, Duncan maintained phone contact with the woman and kept in touch with her children by letter, before returning to their home.
Mr Killen said relatives saw him “playing out in the garden with the children” and he once took one of the girls shopping “just the two of them”.
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When police searched Duncan’s home they found letters including one from one of the girls, who called him her “stepdad”.
Mr Killen said this girl talked about how much she was “missing” him and signed off with kisses.
Another one of the girls wrote to Duncan thanking him for Christmas presents including an iPhone and said she couldn’t wait to hug him.
The third girl wrote to him when he was in jail, when she referred to not knowing what to write in prison letters, said she was “missing” him, and couldn’t wait until he was “home”.
However, other family members learned Duncan was a convicted sex offender and told social services.
Mr Killen said the children are no longer living with their mum and are now being cared for by relatives.
When arrested and interviewed, Duncan denied being in a relationship with the mum and said he had never visited her home.
Duncan, of Bridge Street, Nairn, near Inverness, admitted two counts of breaching his SOPO just a week before a trial.
In a basis of plea he admitted staying overnight at her home about 10 times and had met the children though they were not always there, before also claiming he was “hugely sorry”.
The pervert, who has 17 past convictions for 29 offences, was previously convicted of “lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour” in Scotland in November 2012, when he received a three-year probation order.
In June 2014, he was jailed for two and a half years for a penetrative sexual offence with a 15-year-old girl in Scotland.
In 2014, Duncan was convicted of stalking, then in January and April 2018 he was twice convicted of breaching his SOPO in Scotland, when he was “admonished” and later fined £400.
He was jailed for eight months in September 2018 for breaching his SOPO by giving a lift to three teenage girls, then locked up for eight months in June 2019 for breaching his notification requirements by travelling abroad four times without telling police.
Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said a pre-sentence report caused him “some concern”.
Callum Ross, defending Duncan, said: “He understands he finds himself in exceptionally hot water before this court today and he must be sentenced for what he now accepts is totally unacceptable behaviour”.
However, he said his client asked for “one final chance to retain his liberty by receiving a suspended prison sentence”.
Mr Ross accepted the girls were put at risk, but said “there was no actual harm caused perhaps”.
He said “strong personal mitigation” included that Duncan lived with and cared for his elderly mum, who would “no doubt struggle without his help”.
The lawyer said Duncan worked as an offshore mechanic on oil rigs in the North Sea, earning £376 a day.
He said his client was on medication for anxiety and depression, brought about by his prison sentence in 2014 and his “feelings of regret and remorse”, but Duncan understood “he only has himself to blame”.
Mr Ross suggested there was “a prospect of rehabilitation” because Duncan was remorseful and wanted to get help.
However, Judge Flewitt told Duncan: “You clearly ignore court orders.”
He said the report contained “deeply concerning observations”, including that Duncan continued to contact the mum “even after” he was arrested for these latest breaches.
Judge Flewitt said the author of the report also spoke to the police officer who had supervised Duncan since 2013.
The judge said: “Throughout that time you continued to breach restrictions put in place to protect members of the public and innocent children.
“The view of the author is you chose instead to totally disregard court orders and to lead a life of lies and deceit.”
He said the author concluded Duncan couldn’t be managed in the community.
Judge Flewitt said: “This was a very serious and persistent breach of the order.”
He accepted there was no evidence of actual harm, “but the risk of harm of putting somebody with your record into a household with young female children is obvious and in my judgement very serious”.
The judge said: “It seems to me that any remorse you may have now is concern for yourself rather than for other people.
“It seems to me if I were to take any other step than imposing immediate imprisonment, the likelihood is you would ignore the terms of that order and breach it, and the very least I can do is to protect the public by sending you immediately to prison.”
Judge Flewitt jailed Duncan for three years and four months.
He asked for the Scottish authorities to be notified, so they can consider extending Duncan’s SOPO, which runs until October 2022.
Anyone with information or who wants to report a sexual offence is asked to call 101 where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers or you can pass information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Support for victims is also available through the registered charity the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063, or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.
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