Former Leamington pensioner back behind bars

In the courts
In the courts

A pensioner who has repeated breached an order banning him from having any contact with children is back behind bars once again – at the age of 81.

Raymond Keegan appeared at Warwick Crown Court via a video link from prison after pleading guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed in 2007.

Keegan, of no fixed address, but formerly of Gresham Place, Leamington, was jailed for 28 months – and was warned the sentences will get even longer if he keeps breaching the order.

Prosecutor Peter Grice said Keegan had been made subject to a sexual offences prevention order, under which he was banned from engaging in any form of communication with any child under the age of 16, in 2007.

But on the evening of Saturday January 20 this year, an off-duty police sergeant was in McDonald’s in St Davids Way, Nuneaton, where he noticed Keegan talking to a group of teenagers aged between 14 and 17.

He thought no more about it until last month when Keegan turned up at Nuneaton Justice Centre to register with the police as a sex offender, as he was required to do every two weeks because he was homeless.

The sergeant recognised him as the person he had seen talking to the teenagers in McDonald’s, putting him breach of the sexual offences prevention order.

When he spoke to him about it, Keegan accepted he had been talking to the children, claiming it was they who had begun the conversation with him.

But when asked about the nature of the conversation, he replied: “No comment.”

Mr Grice said that Keegan had a number of previous convictions for offences including breaching sexual offences prevention orders and failing to comply with the requirements of his registration as a sex offender.

In 2005 he breached the terms of his registration by failing to notify the police he was travelling abroad, and when the police executed a warrant at his home they found letters which suggested he had been communicating with other sex offenders and with a young girl in Singapore.

That led to him being given a suspended sentence, then in 2007 he was jailed for six months after contacting members of a Leamington church offering guitar lessons to children.

He was jailed for two years in 2008 for further breaches, and at Birmingham Crown Court in 2015 was jailed for 27 months for yet more breaches.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed: “There have been breach, after breach, after breach, but no convictions for substantive offences.”

Ian Speed, defending, commented: “With where he goes and what he does, once he’s in prison, he’s safer. He is no danger to children in prison. It’s a sad case.”

And Judge de Bertodano told Keegan: “This is a sad case. You are a man in his 80s who is constantly being returned to prison because you can’t keep away from young children.

“This has lost you everything in your life, because you have lost your family as a result.

“I accept you struggle with this, and more often than not you lose that struggle. You know you are not meant to speak to teenagers, and, yet again, that is what you were doing.

“I accept nothing sexual was said, but you know as well as I do that you are a real risk to young children. No matter how conversations start, there is a real risk of how they will end.

“The maximum sentence for this is five years, and if you keep coming back you will get up towards that maximum.”