Victims of serial child abuser tell of anguish as monster trucker wins battle to serve remainder of jail sentence in Scotland
A SHAMELESS serial child molester has won his fight to be sent back to Scotland – just three years after he was caged for abusing boys in Romania.
And victims of monster trucker James Connor fear he will soon be loose on our streets again.
The mother of two of his many victims told the Record yesterday: “This is really, really bad. I had hoped he would never be allowed back.
“There is no doubt he’ll do it again when he gets out.”
Long-distance lorry driver Connor was caught in Romania in 2010 abusing boys, and sentenced in February 2011 to jail terms totalling 22 years.
But the sentences were concurrent and he was ordered to serve only eight years – later reduced to six on appeal after he complained his punishment was too harsh.
And a court in the capital, Bucharest, has now given him the right to return to Scotland to serve the rest of his time – a prospect that will alarm his victims and the authorities.
After Connor’s arrest near the Romanian town of Vaslui, a Daily Record investigation revealed he had been abusing children since he was 12.
He preyed on children at a swimming pool and abused a child at a Catholic retreat. He hoped at the time to become a priest.
We learned that Connor, of Bellshill, Lanarkshire, had never been properly supervised as a young offender, despite the concerns of social workers that he was a serious risk to children.
He has never shown remorse, whining in the early years of his offending that he, not the youngsters he targeted, was the real victim.
We handed Romanian prosecutors a dossier outlining Connor’s 20 years of sexual attacks on youngsters.
Experts from Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre told the Romanian authorities he was “a prolific and dangerous paedophile” who used his job to kidnap and abuse victims.
Interpol became involved in investigations of Connor’s past, and he was suspected of abusing children in France, Spain, Moldova, Bulgaria and Ukraine as well as Romania.
Connor was finally brought to justice after Romanian police caught him in 2010 with boys in the cab of his lorry. He lured them with cash and sweets then filmed himself abusing them.
He denied all wrongdoing but was convicted of sex with a minor, corrupting children and possessing and distributing child porn.
Local detectives said they had linked him with a dozen other cases, but prosecuted him on one to save time.
Connor was ordered to pay a nine-year-old victim £1686 in compensation, plus £1310 legal costs.
He went to jail continuing to protest his innocence and mounted a series of failed appeals.
The Romanian justice system moves slowly and it could be 2015 before Connor is transferred back to Scotland.
But his victims are already horrified at the thought of his return. One woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “This was the moment we were dreading. We don’t want him back in Scotland. He’ll serve a couple of years and be back on the streets again to prey on more innocent children.”
The Scottish Prison Service said they had yet to be contacted by the Romanians about Connor.
His mother Brenda, 73, who still lives in Bellshill and has always stood by him, was not available for comment.
The Scottish Government said they could not comment on individual cases, but procedures were in place to protect the public from returning sex offenders convicted overseas.
They said such offenders could be made the subject of Notification Orders, which require them to register their details with police in the same way as offenders convicted in Scottish courts.
TIMELINE: 20 years of attacking children.. and not one shred of remorse
1 CONNOR, 12, allegedly molests his first victim, a girl of four who visits his home to buy a rabbit.
2 Between ages of 13 and 15, he is accused of fondling a boy and girl, both seven, and showing porn to an 11-year-old.
3 At 15, in 1992, he is referred to social workers for first time over alleged abuse. They are told of four other incidents and conclude he is dangerous – but agree to work with him in “supportive” way.
4 In 1995, he serves half of a six-month sentence for indecency after being caught with young boys in his van and showing them pornography.
A pre-sentence psychiatric report says he has admitted other attacks and should be supervised after release, and he tells a jail social worker he still wants “young flesh”. The social worker fears he has many more victims.
5 Despite the authorities’ fears, Connor leaves Polmont Young Offenders Institution with no compulsory supervision order over him. He snubs a voluntary social work scheme.
Social workers report that he has admitted serial abuse but refuses to address his behaviour, so little can be done.
6 Connor befriends Glasgow man in 1997 and allegedly abuses his two children, as well as other victims. He flees when his crimes are discovered.
7 He lodges with family friend in Bristol in 2003 while looking for work as lorry driver and is accused of abusing two children in the house. Police are alerted and he flees again.
He starts driving in Europe for a number of haulage firms and is suspected of abuse in several countries.
8 He is arrested in Romania in August 2010 after police catch him with boys in his cab. He is jailed for eight years in February 2011 for abusing them.
9 Three years after his sentence, pervert wins fight to be sent back to Scotland.
Paedophile Scot James Connor jailed in Romania
A Lanarkshire lorry driver has been given a 22-year sentence by a court in Romania for sexually abusing boys.
James Connor, from Bellshill, was arrested in Vaslui last August after a nine-year-old missing boy and another child were found in his truck.
The 33-year-old was found guilty on four counts, including corrupting a minor and possessing child pornography.
Connor, who will serve eight years of his sentence, is under investigation for alleged offences in Strathclyde.
A Strathclyde Police spokesperson told the BBC a report had been sent to the procurator fiscal, following co-operation between police in Scotland and in Romania.
Connor is said to have lured Romanian children from poor backgrounds into his lorry with money and sweets.
Police said at the time that a laptop computer had also been found containing “obscene images involving minors”.
Connor was fined 2,000 euros (£1,685) as compensation for the only boy who was named in the prosecution, and will also have to pay court costs.
His barrister Ciprian Mitoseru said they would appeal the court’s ruling following the “extreme” decision.