April 2022

Paedophile breaks into family’s home to sexually assault little girls

A paedophile climbed up a ladder and into a bedroom to sexually assault two sleeping little girls.

Convicted sex offender Luke McHugh was supposed to be locked into his secure accommodation on Knowsley’s Longmeadow Road and prevented from leaving without supervision.

Yet the 20-year-old tampered with a window and escaped in the dead of night to launch his attack on a house in the local area in July last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today he was only stopped from sexually assaulting two girls in the house after their dad heard him get in.

Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting, said McHugh planned his attack for days, using loud music and a request for quiet time from his support workers to sneak out of his room and spy on the house where his victims lived.

He was caught on CCTV lurking outside the home on numerous days leading up to the attack after seeing toys through the windows. Finally, he climbed into the back garden of the house, found a ladder and placed it against the wall under the bedroom window.

Hot weather meant it had been left ajar and McHugh climbed in before being disturbed by the girls’ dad. He then fled and went back to his accommodation without being apprehended.

The girls’ parents were initially unsure about the motivation for the break-in, believing it could be a burglary. However, police investigations later uncovered CCTV of a man later identified as McHugh visiting the house on numerous occasions before the attack.

When police arrested him in August they found a range of disturbing items in his bedroom in his accommodation unit. They included children’s toys and underwear, as well as nappies, condoms and sexual lubricant.

He was in the unit after trying to incite an eight-year-old girl he was chatting to over the internet to send him pictures of herself naked.

He also has convictions for possession of indecent images of children.

Ms Nemat said his previous convictions and the extensive planning that went into the break in pointed towards McHugh having the intention to commit a serious sexual assault.

She also referenced probation reports which pointed to McHugh’s fixation on sexual activity.

Ms Nemat said: “The defendant is quite clearly obsessed with having his [sexual] needs met. He also has a deep rooted fascination with and sexual attraction towards children.”

The girls’ mum spoke today of the family’s difficulty in coming to terms with what had happened to them. She said that while McHugh’s ultimate aim had been avoided, she and the wider family had been left traumatised by what had happened.

She said it was his intention to “make our wonderful precious girls his victims. This really is any parent’s nightmare – and our nightmare continues”. The woman said she was now scared of the dark and worried about how to explain the attack to her children in the future.

Judge Trevor-Jones said: “Some noise luckily awoke the father who opened the door only to see your silhouette in the children’s room and to shout out. That caused you to flee.

“Even more fortunate of course was the fact that neither child woke up to witness a stranger in their bedroom and that the father’s actions avoided the girls being violated and traumatised.” Judge Trevor-Jones said he was confident McHugh intended to commit a serious sexual assault on the children.

McHugh, of Longmeadow Road, was detained for a total of ten years, the maximum term available for trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

The judge extended his initial sentence of six years and eight months to take account of McHugh’s dangerousness.

He will serve two thirds behind bars before being assessed for parole.