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'Dangerous' paedophile, 36, branded 'every parent's worst nightmare' walks out of an open prison and into primary school then tries to abduct girl in front of horrified pupils after simply KNOCKING on the classroom door

A dangerous paedophile described as a parent’s “worst nightmare” has been sentenced for walking out of open prison and kidnapping a young child from inside a school classroom.
John Harris, 36, of no fixed abode absconded from HMP Leyhill near Bristol on October 16, 2018 and later that day was charged with escape from lawful custody, kidnapping, and breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
He had gone to a school where he managed to be let into a classroom by his victim, a child not known to him, who he grabbed only being stopped by a fast-acting teaching assistant who got the child to safety.
The convicted child sex offender had been moved to the Category D prison in May 2018, five months before the offence took place.
Having been transferred there from Brixton prison - a Category C jail - against the advice of psychiatrists who said he still posed a high risk.
Harris had by that time served eight years of a prison sentence imposed on him for two separate kidnapping offences in 2005 and 2008.
Both incidents involved him trying to take child from the children’s ward of a hospital using a knife as a weapon. He had gained access to the hospital by impersonating a doctor.
Despite this, he was moved to the lower security facility and five months later set out to carry out another kidnapping, wanting to act out fantasies of sexual abuse he had been having, the court heard today, November 23.

A "cry for help"?

While Harris fully admitted what he had done to the police, entering a guilty plea at court, he said he acted in a cry for help after he had tried to get help from the prison for his fantasies and worsening mental health.
He received no help at the prison due to “stretched resources”, a factor his defence said partly led to him taking the action he did.
Miss Rachel Drake for the Crown Prosecution told the court how the incident unfolded describing how Harris had got in to the school playground.
It was around 9.20am when he began trying to open a door which led off the yard and into a small classroom where two pupils were being taught by a teaching assistant.
One of the children was closest to the door and hearing someone trying to get in, she jumped up and opened it for them.
Harris came in through the door and asked the teacher: “Is this the reception?”
The teacher answered “no” and pointed to the direction of the reception area but Harris put his arm around the girl and said “I’ll just take this child”.
Already on her guard because of the unusual appearance of a man at the classroom door the teacher snapped into action and pulled the girl away moving her behind her back.
Over in a matter of seconds, the teaching assistant left the children in the care of another teacher who had come to their aid and took Harris across the grounds towards the reception area.

“I just wanted to take a child”

It was at this point that Harris said to her “I think you should call the police”. After telling the head teacher what had happened the school went into immediate lock down as they waited for Avon and Somerset police to arrive.
In a situation Miss Drake said was “beyond distressing” for the children the lights were turned off, blinds were drawn and all children were told to get under their tables.
Witnesses saw Harris continued to move around the grounds, looking in through windows and twice trying to open the door into the classroom which was locked again until the police arrived.
When officers approached Harris he did not resist arrest telling them he had absconded from prison.He went on to tell them: “I just wanted to take a child.” Which led to his arrest.
During the hearing held, Friday November 23, Bristol Crown Court heard from victim impact statements including from the distraught parents of the little girl Harris attempted to take.
They said their child now struggled to sleep and is genuinely concerned Harris might come back to get her, blaming herself for opening the door to the defendant.
Miss Drake said: “It is also important to consider that it has affected parents confidence in leaving their children at the school.”
The incident has continued to haunt the school as detailed in the headteacher’s statement where they said: “These are memories which for many will stay with them for a long time.

"Your fantasies are beyond troubling they are truly frightening"

“It was heart-wrenching to ring the parents of the child and try to explain and comfort them through all of their questions. They had put their precious child into our care and somewhere the system has failed them,” they said.
“They have been frustrated by the lack of answers they have had and parents have grown distrusting of the school and in those who are supposed to keep them safe.
“Parents and children are in a constant state of fear. Is this really how we want our children to be taught?”
Adding that the school and its staff are under pressure now to install even more security measures which would come to significant financial cost.
Defence barrister Sarah Regan argued that Harris had never set out to successfully kidnap a child having always targeted places there there is a heavy presence of authority figures.
She also said her client had needed help for his deteriorating mental health noting how since being at Leyhill with the lack of support there he had began self harming again.
Ms Regan said the defendant did not have a sexual motive in carrying out the kidnap. A statement His Honour Judge Cullum refused to accept.
Harris had no real plan past arriving at the school, Ms Regan said, having not thought out the process. She also noted that he had been cooperative and frank in helping compile the psychiatric and pre-sentence reports.
After his counsel spoke Harris asked to say something and the convicted paedophile stood up wearing a light blue t-shirt ripped at the shoulder.
He began by saying: “In the strongest terms possible I apologise for my actions and the effect they’ve had on the community and the child herself.
“I am who I am, but I am not who I want to be. All of this going through my head, I know I am deeply disturbed, I have been throughout my life.
“I am sorry and that is all I can say.”

"You are every parent’s worst nightmare"

Carrying out the sentencing, Judge Cullum said: “You are every parent’s worst nightmare.
“You say ‘I am what I am, but not who I want to be’ but what you are is a persistent paedophile who has been unable to be successfully treated and, at the age of 36 this is the third time you have tried to take a child.
“The child you attempted to take is significantly scared. A man escaped prison and tried to take her away. Her parents will never forget that and I hope she will, but at her age I suspect it will always be known.
“Your fantasies are beyond troubling, they are truly frightening,” he said.
“You accept that in the time before it you had been fantasising and thinking of acting upon the urge to sexually abuse a young child and you have fantasised afterward about what you did.
“I have no doubt from reports that you are someone who acted on sexual impulse and driven by prospect of sexual abuse.
“This case is all about potential. We will never know what it is you would have done with that child but the prospect is potentially horrifying given your fantasies and history of fantasies since 2009.
“I deal with you on the basis that you were taking that child for the purpose of sexual abuse .
“There may have been an element of a cry for help , that you felt like you weren’t coping but you chose to deal with it in the way that you did.
“How dangerous are you? Almost as dangerous as it is possible to be because you have been in custody for nine years but during a few months of open conditions and you again take a child.
“I can’t see a time when you will be assessed to be no longer dangerous. Against a background of a personality disorder and paedophilia disorder it’s clear you present a major risk and must do for the foreseeable future."
Judge Cullum said he did not believe the offences met the test for imposing a life imprisonment as the crown had suggested but decided on an extended prison sentence.
He sentences Harris to seven years six months in prison including an extended four year period on licence bringing the total sentence to 11 years and six months.
Harris will continue to be subject to a lifetime sexual harm prevention order which was first imposed by Woolwich Crown Court back in September 2009 and prevented him from approaching children aged under the age of 16.
Noting how Harris would still be subject to the indefinite prison sentence imposed on him in 2009 which will mean he will never be released from custody unless the parole board deem he is no longer a danger to the public.

4 comments:

  1. Old days--guys like him were castrated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the old days, you'd be castrating a dead man...

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  3. Nothing that a 240 g of lead at 450 m/s could cure ??

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  4. This is the kind of guy who should hear one thing from a judge when he is convicted and sentenced. "To be hung by the dick until he is dead."

    ReplyDelete