Jail for sex fiend who befriended Burnley parents to babysit children

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A convicted pervert on a sex offences prevention order has been jailed for two years after deliberately befriending parents in a bid to babysit their children.

James Blackie (29) was placed on the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a 10-year sex offences prevention order in 2010. He was jailed for 20 months.

But Burnley Crown Court heard how the defendant, formerly of Reed Street, Burnley, had gone against the conditions set out to him when, this summer, he formed friendships with two separate families. His conditions stated Blackie must not be in the presence of anyone aged under 16, unless supervised by an adult over 21, that he must get consent to be in the presence of a child from the parent or guardian, and he must make them aware of his sexual offences history. He was also told he must tell the authorities of any change of address.

Timothy Brennan (prosecuting) told how the defendant met his first victim while fishing in Burnley, with the pair becoming “close friends” over two to three weeks. They would go for drinks after their outings and Blackie was introduced to his friend’s wife and child. He would visit their home daily and would have tea.

He was later introduced to his second victim, who had three children, and a friendship was again created. He soon began babysitting her children, and was said to have offered his services up to 25 times.

In both cases, Blackie gave a false surname – so when suspicions did arise, no Internet search brought up a negative history.

Mr Brennan explained: “The position was there was a general feeling there was something not adding up with the defendant. Quite how that came about is not clear.”

Soon the defendant was sharing worries over accommodation, unpaid bills and lack of benefits, to the first complainant – who was left so concerned about Blackie’s situation he welcomed him into his home. No notification was given to the authorities.

During a cleaning session, a document was found disclosing Blackie’s real name. A further search was made, and the defendant’s history of sexual misconduct was revealed.

The court heard how one of the victim’s said: “I felt shocked and angry. I couldn’t believe he had lied to me, and wondered if he had only been close to us to be close to the children.”

In a police interview, the complainant made full admission to what had been going on, but denied any form of sexual misconduct. Each child had to be medically examined, and his admissions were shown to be true.

He was found guilty of three counts of failure to comply with notification requirements, and three counts of breaching a sex offences preventions order.

Passing sentence, Recorder Stuart Driver QC, described the defendant’s behaviour as “devious, deliberate and calculated”. He said: “In 2010 you were imprisoned for distributing indecent images of children, having previously been cautioned for similar behaviour. These offences are very worrying. I am sure you deliberately befriended people with children... to spend more time with these children. It has caused great anxiety to the adults who trusted you.”

Blackie was again made subject to a sexual preventions order, with the same terms as before. It will run without any time limit - a move Recorder Driver described as “necessary to protect children in the future”.