June 2022

Carlisle sex offender agreed to babysit female child

A sex offender has been prosecuted after he agreed to babysit for a family who had no idea about his criminal past.

At the city’s crown court, James McArthur, 32, who formerly lived at Stonegarth, Morton, admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order that was supposed to ensure he had no unsupervised contact with any child.

The charge states that he agreed to baby sit for a female child ‘without informing the parents’ about his previous convictions.

Though there was no evidence that anything untoward happened, the court heard, his actions were a breach of a sexual harm prevention order made by the Royal Courts of Justice in Preston on April 20, 2012.

He committed the offence in Carlisle on a date between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020, the court heard.

He initially claimed that he had mentioned his offending past to the parents of the child he agreed to look after but then later changed his story, admitting that he had not mentioned his past convictions or the court order. 

Details of the case are yet to be outlined in court but the defendant’s defence barrister Judith McCullough said McArthur had been forced to leave his previous Carlisle address.

His windows were broken and the defendant had decided to end the tenancy because returning to that address was ‘just too dangerous,’ said Miss McCullough. McArthur still had property in the address.

Judge Richard Archer agreed that the defendant’s current tagged curfew – which prevents him leaving his home at night – could be removed. He set the sentencing date as July 29.

A number of other sex crime allegations of a sexual nature which were made against the defendant were dropped by the prosecution.

The judge ordered Probation Service background reports on McArthur and renewed a bail condition which forbids him from having any contact with the Carlisle family he agreed to ‘help’ by babysitting.

The defendant is now living at an address which is in Cumbria but outside Carlisle. Details of the defendant’s previous sex offences were not outlined in court.

Sexual harm prevention orders usually prevent any convicted sex offender from having unfettered access to any child and ban offenders from working – either in a paid or voluntary capacity – with children.

November 2011

Blackburn man jailed for 22 months for grooming girl, 11

A pervert who sexually ‘groomed’ an 11-year-old girl has been jailed.

James McArthur, 21, was caught when the victim skipped school and her dad found incriminating text messages on her mobile phone.

Police said the dad-of-two had attempted to ‘incite’ several young girls and when one responded, he stepped up his grooming with face to face meetings and phone contact.

He began sending her ‘obscene texts’ and encouraged her to send him pictures and perform sexual acts.

This continued over several months between 2009 and 2010 until the victim’s parents found the ‘inappropriate’ messages and called police.

Officers think he deliberately targeted the girl, who was in her first year at high school, because of her age.

DC Tracey McMurdo said: “McArthur has purposely targeted such a young girl rather than an older teenager because she was easier to manipulate and although she may have understood some of the words he used, she did not understand at all the adult implications of them.

“He has forced her to deal with adult issues much earlier than she should have had to.”

The girl’s father said: “This case has resulted in massive stress for myself and my family.

“The whole incident and the lead up to the court case has caused me many sleepless nights.

“Previous to this crime I didn’t mind if my children popped out or were round at a friend’s house, but now I am paranoid about where they are.

“If they are slightly late I am worried that something has happened to them, and I am out on the streets looking for them.

“I would just like to stress again all the upset that McArthur has caused in my family by not admitting to what he had done earlier.

“He left it until the day of the trial when we were all ready to go to court.

“We had to look round the court the previous week. My daughter was really stressed, worried and nervous as was I.

“If he had admitted it earlier he could have saved us a lot of stress and sleepless nights.”

McArthur, formerly of Walter Street, Audley Range, Blackburn, admitted sexual assault on a child under 13, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Two similar charges will lie on the file.

He was jailed for 22 months and given a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from contacting or communicating with females under 18, approaching or associating with females under 18 and allowing females under 18 to enter his home.

He cannot work with children and must sign the Sex Offenders Register.