January 2023

Paedophile spent hours alone with partner’s children after not telling her about past

A convicted paedophile spent hours “here and there” alone with children after not telling their mum about his record.

Michael Longbottom, 28, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced for seven different counts relating to breaching sexual harm prevention and notification orders.

Longbottom, of Bedford Road, Bootle, received a suspended sentence on September 22, 2017, after being convicted of offences involving sexual activity with a female child.

As part of this sentence, Longbottom was subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely, which dictated he was not allowed to be alone with a child without the consent of their parent, and that parent had to be aware of his previous convictions.

The sex offender was not allowed any device with access to the internet unless he informed police, and he had to produce the device for analysis by police whenever requested.

He also had to notify police of any change of address and check in with them regularly. Longbottom engaged in a relationship with a mum-of-two for over six months, without disclosing his previous convictions for sex offences.

Longbottom breached these orders seven times, including by going on holiday with the children, having a secret phone, and residing where children lived.

Chris Taylor, prosecuting, detailed that the relationship between Longbottom and the woman – who is protected by anonymity – began on April 14, 2022 when the pair met at her property.

He ended up staying there for four days, as the woman’s children were with their father. The relationship progressed and became serious, and Longbottom was introduced to her children in July 2022.

The mum, who was still unaware of Longbottom’s previous conviction, ensured the first few visits were in public places and the group went on trips to Southport and New Brighton. At the end of August, she slept at Longbottom’s house for the first time with the children, and continued to stay there every weekend until November.

She and Longbottom slept on a mattress in the living room, and the children slept in separate rooms. At this time, there were periods when he would be with the children unsupervised for brief periods.

On November 11, the woman, Longbottom and her children went to Talacre Beach resort for four days where they all shared a caravan. During this trip, there were times when Longbottom would be around other children and alone with the woman’s children.

After their return on November 14, the woman moved to a new property and the defendant “effectively moved in” with her and her children, even having his own key.

He stayed overnight until November 26, when he suddenly began acting “strange”, claiming somebody had tried to break into his home in Bootle, before he “literally just ran out of the door”.

At this point, the woman blocked his phone number and ended the relationship because of how strangely Longbottom acted, before later finding out about his history.

In her witness statement read out in court, she said there were hours “here and there” that Longbottom would be alone with her children over the course of their relationship.

A court heard that he previously breached his sentence by failing to notify police of his change of address in 2019.

The defendant also submitted a three page letter to the court, including a poem by former American Judge Dennis Challeen, about the effect of the prison system.

In sentencing, Judge Garett Byrne detailed that police found a second phone belonging to Longbottom, and that is what he used to contact the woman. He said: “You were willing to act deceitfully in that way to try and hide your true position.

“This was a persistent breach, offending occurred over a reasonably lengthy period of time.” He added: “In her witness statement she said had she known she would not have entered in a relationship with you or let you be with her children.”

The Judge passed six concurrent sentences, totalling 28 months immediate imprisonment. A revised sexual harm prevention order was also implemented indefinitely, and a deprivation order for the mobile phone found was ordered.