October 2011

Indefinite prison term for raping young boy

A DEVONPORT man has been sent to jail indefinitely after admitting raping a young boy.

Plymouth Crown Court heard that Mark Johns was left in charge of the child on August 20 this year.

But he later rang the boy’s mother and said the child had accidentally injured himself.

He rang again two hours later to say the boy had gone to bed and was refusing food.

The boy refused to let his mother examine him, so she took him to Derriford Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

Prosecutor David Gittins said the boy was in so much pain that he could not be examined by doctors, and was kept in hospital overnight.

Next day, he was put under general anaesthetic and examined by a consultant paediatrician.

He discovered multiple lacerations and internal injuries which he concluded could not have been caused by the accident Johns described, and must have been the result of sexual assault.

Johns was arrested, telling detectives: “I regret what I have done; I’ve not been myself lately.”

Johns, aged 23 and of Marlborough Street, told police in interview that he had developed a sexual interest in children about five months before.

His barrister told the court that Johns was remorseful and wanted to get help.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC said that having read psychiatric and Probation Service reports, he had no difficulty in concluding that Johns was dangerous.

He said that had he been found guilty at trial, he would have jailed him for 21 years.

Johns pleaded guilty to raping a child under 13 and was sentenced to an indefinite sentence for public protection, with a minimum term of seven years.

This means that only after that time can he be assessed to determine whether he is still a danger to the public or could be released.

Judge Gilbert also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for life.

Outside the court, Mr Gittins told The Herald: “This is one of the worst cases of its kind I have ever had to deal with.”