August 2013

Paedophile denied move to Irish jail


AN Irish paedophile serving an indefinite jail term abroad wants to do his time in Ireland.

James Jerome Brennan, a former lap-dance club owner, was one of the first sex offenders jailed in Britain for internet child grooming.

Brennan (55), from Manorcunningham, Co Donegal, is serving a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) and has no automatic right to be released.

As there is no equivalent sentence in Ireland, Brennan, described as “undoubtedly a danger to girls”, cannot serve the remainder of his term here.

IPP prisoners must serve a minimum tariff before being considered for release by the Parole Board, but many remain in prison for many more years.

In a letter seen by the Irish Independent, Brennan says: “Surely the Irish, as foreign nationals in the UK, should have the same rights as other foreign nationals.”

The British government abolished IPPs last year after three prisoners successfully challenged them in the European Court of Human Rights, but those already handed down will not be abolished retrospectively.

The High Court in Dublin last year refused to extradite convicted Irish rapist Gavin Nolan, who fled the UK and was subsequently arrested here.

Nolan is wanted in connection with an alleged attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but the High Court refused to surrender him as he potentially faced an indeterminate IPP sentence.

December 2010

Paedophile given indefinite jail term

A PAEDOPHILE who set up an online modelling agency to meet and abuse young girls was today jailed indefinitely after appeal judges overturned his four-year sentence.

James Jerome Brennan, 53, of Sunny Blunts, Peterlee, was jailed at Teesside Crown Court in July after admitting sexual assault, sexual grooming and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

But the case was back in court after the country’s top law officer, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, referred the “unduly lenient” sentence to Court of Appeal judges.

Lord Justice Moses said Brennan was undoubtedly a danger to young girls and imposed a sentence of indefinite imprisonment for public protection (IPP), which is almost identical to a life term and means Brennan might never be freed.

The appeal judge, sitting with Mr Justice Field and Judge Anthony Scott-Gall, told the court how Brennan had only recently been released from prison for a sexual grooming offence when he set up his Model Seekers website.

After failing in an internet attempt to meet one 13-year-old girl, he used the web to persuade another youngster to meet him in a Durham hotel room.

Once there, he plied her with Red Bull and vodka, persuaded her to strip and began to molest her.

The girl became frightened and made an escape.

Despite this, he continued to contact her and met her again in May of last year, when he again plied her with alcohol and subjected her to prolonged abuse in a car.

The case came back to court on a reference by Mr Grieve, using special powers to ask appeal judges to review and possibly increase the sentence.

The crown court judge, Judge George Moorhouse, had wrongly believed that he could not pass an open-ended term and had passed a sentence which would see Brennan automatically walk free, whether he was still a danger or not, Mr Grieve’s lawyers told the court.

Lord Justice Moses said the danger posed to the public was “beyond dispute” and Brennan had failed to take opportunities granted by courts in the past to change his ways.

“The pre-sentence report demonstrated that this man presented a very high risk of reoffending,” he said.

“It spoke of a well-established pattern of sexual offending and of the offender presenting a very high risk of harm to children.

“The author of the report considered this offender to be ‘a very dangerous man’.

“He is. He persists, at every opportunity, in targeting young girls and attempting to persuade them with drink and by detaining them to enter into sexual relations with him.

“It is clear that the public can only be protected by an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection.”

The judges said Brennan would have to serve at least four years in prison before applying to the Parole Board for a review.

He can only then be freed if it is considered he is safe.

Det Sgt Graeme Chisholm, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Mr Brennan is a highly dangerous individual and the sentence he has been given reflects that.”