Prolific child sex offender befriended family and babysat their children | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A prolific child sex offender befriended a family and babysat their two young children, buying them sweets, ice cream and toys, a court heard.

Their parents knew nothing of Stephen Carruthers’ sordid past. He’s now been jailed for breaching a court order which stipulated any contact he had with children aged under 18 must be approved.

Carruthers, 64, was only caught when the children’s nursery raised concerns with the parents. He was the subject of an indefinite sexual offending prevention order (SHPO) when he first met the children’s mother.

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Carruthers, of Clevedon Road, Blackpool, was invited to the house but did not mention his previous convictions, Preston Crown Court heard. As he got closer to the family he began looking after the children while their parents went to work.

He put them to bed and would be in the same room when they were having a bath, the court heard. He stayed over at the house on several occasions and was often trusted to be alone with them. However when the parents – who knew nothing of his past – were told by staff at the nursery they were worried about the children’s behaviour, reports Lancs Live.

The children’s father said Carruthers was “very keen on the children” and would buy them sweets, ice cream and toys.

He visited the house almost every day and would often bend down to cuddle them. When the parents went out and left him with the children, Carruthers told them not to rush back, he said.

Preston Crown Court(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Preston Crown Court heard the defendant was subject to indefinite notification requirements, otherwise known as the sex offenders register, which meant any contact with children under 18 must be approved. He had not told the police or social services he was visiting the house and spending time alone with the children.

He has a string of convictions dating back to the 1970s and in 2009 was handed an indeterminate sentence for public protection for an offence of sexual activity with a child. During that hearing, the court heard how he and another paedophile he met in prison lured four teenage boys to a flat they shared in Blackpool, with boasts of money and celebrity contacts.

Judge Christopher Cornwall described the pair as “incorrigible, predatory paedophiles.” Carruthers’ release was only granted when the Parole Board considered he was no longer a risk, however when his contact with the children came to light he was immediately recalled on licence.

Carruthers pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching of a SOPO and two counts of breaching notification requirements. Judge Sarah O’Brien said there was no evidence he had harmed the children. She said: “Your probation progress report sets out that you have attended all your appointments and have been open with professionals, however you failed to share the most important information – that you were having unsupervised contact with two young children.

“You managed to gain the trust of these parents to be left in charge of two young (children). These are not just persistent, but flagrant breaches.” He was jailed for three years.

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