January 2010

REVEALED: ‘Sick monster’ who raped St Helens girl

THE Star can reveal the identity of the “sick monster” who subjected a girl of nine to a savage sex attack while on bail for raping a 10-year-old girl in Victoria Park, St Helens.

Predatory paedophile Simon Heaton, aged 17, from St Helens, has been locked up indefinitely for the public protection after Liverpool Crown Court heard harrowing details of the two grotesque attacks.

A written request by the St Helens Star to overturn the reporting restriction on naming Heaton was read out and then upheld by Judge David Harris QC yesterday.

He delayed the order being lifted until 5pm today so sufficient security was installed to ensure he is not attacked in prison.

The mother of the second victim, who was attacked in Lancashire while Heaton was on bail, described the sex fiend as a “sick monster”.

The Star revealed in November the shocking link between the two cases and reported on a different judge’s decision to bail Heaton last May as he awaited trial accused of raping the girl in Victoria Park, St Helens.

Now that decision, made by Judge Boulton at Liverpool Crown Court in May last year, has been magnified as the national spotlight falls on Heaton’s chilling crimes.

During sentencing, narrowly built Heaton showed few signs of emotion as Judge Harris said he must remain in detention until it can be established he no longer poses a threat to society.

He could be freed on parole after five years if he is no longer deemed a danger to the public.

During the prolonged attacks, that happened four months apart, both girls feared they would be killed, prosecutor Deborah Gould told court.

They both remain terribly traumatised.

Miss Gould gave shocking details of how Heaton raped the first little girl after dragging her into bushes in Victoria Park, St Helens on the evening of Monday, April 6 last year.

Heaton was a month short of his 17th birthday when he targeted his victim.

Miss Gould said the youngster was walking though the park when she noticed Heaton by a pond.

He began to follow the girl and stare at her, before grabbing and forcing her into bushes.

Miss Gould said: “She told him she was only 10 years old. She told police: ‘I told him to get off me but he wouldn’t’.

“She was asked why she couldn’t have got away from him and said: ‘because he would have killed me’ “She tried to call for help but Heaton put his hand over her mouth and told her: ‘If you shout one more time I’ll break your neck.”

Eventually he let her go and as she ran home a car almost knocked her over. The traumatised little girl went to her family and told them of her ordeal.

Heaton was arrested by police after the victim saw him walking past her home some three weeks after the rape.

Initially he denied the offence, claiming he had been walking near to the park on the evening of the attack but had been beaten up by a group of lads.

Miss Gould said that during police interview Heaton’s response was: “I’ve not done it, it makes me sick just thinking about it, what you’ve said…I used to child mind with me mum for God’s sake…it’s not me.”

But detectives in St Helens charged him and he was initially remanded in custody by magistrates.

However, at a preliminary hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Boulton granted conditional bail ahead of a date when he would enter a plea.

Heaton was staying in East Lancashire with his aunt – under terms set down by the bail conditions – when on August 3, 2009 he struck again.

This time he targeted a nine-year-old girl and subjected her to a violent sexual attack after forcing her into woodland at Great Harwood, near Blackburn.

He punched her so hard that it broke her jaw in two places.

Eventually, she managed to escape him and was found calling for help by a local businesswoman.

A harrowing phonecall of the distraught youngster speaking to a police officer during the aftermath was played in court.

Two of the businesswoman’s employees set off after the 17-year-old and followed his footsteps for three miles towards Clayton-le-Moors.

They eventually caught up with him and made a citizen’s arrest, detaining him until police arrived.

Heaton admitted a total of seven offences involving the two little girls.

Five of the charges related to the St Helens attack, when he raped and sexually abused the ten-year-old in Victoria Park.

He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the younger victim in Lancashire and causing her grievous bodily harm with intent.

Meanwhile, commenting on the decision to bail Heaton last May, a spokesperson for the Judicial Communications Office said: “Whether or not to grant bail is a decision of the courts to make within the statutory framework provided by Parliament in the Bail Act 1976 (as amended), taking account of relevant case-law.

“The Bail Act (as amended) provides for a general presumption that bail will be granted in all cases, except in specific circumstances. It was the judge to decide whether any exception applied.

“In view of his decision, it is apparent that Judge Boulton formed the view that none applied on the facts presented to him.”