March 2009

Teenage sex fiend who raped schoolboy is jailed

Jonathan Bermingham – who likes to be known as Jonathan Ross – comes from a notorious family of sex offenders.

At the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, Bermingham, 19, was given a life sentence for luring a boy into woods before raping him.
Frances McMenamin QC, defending Bermingham, said the rapist had grown up in “a highly sexualised environment” and had never learned appropriate sexual behaviour.

Ms McMenamin said he genuinely recognised he had problems controlling his sexual urges. “He himself has raised the issue of whether what he calls chemical castration might be helpful to him,” the lawyer added.

At an earlier hearing Bermingham admitted sodomy on June 12 last year.  On Friday, Lord Uist made a life sentence order locking up Bermingham for at least four and a half years.  He will only be freed if the parole board think it has become safe to do so and will remain under strict supervision for the rest of his days.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, had told how a 14-year-old boy – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was playing truant from school when Bermingham approached him in a park at Glenfuir Road, Falkirk.

“The accused gave the impression of also being a schoolboy playing truant, saying he didn’t want to hide there because the police would find him and that he would show him a better place to hide.”

They walked away together, jumped a wall, crossed the canal and climbed a bank to bushes.

Bermingham then grabbed the younger boy, told him to sit down and demanded: “Let me kiss you. When the shocked boy began to shout for help, he told him: “Shout and you’re dead.”

In March 2003, Bermingham – then 13 – joined his father and older brother on the Sex Offenders’ Register after he admitted sodomising a nine-year-old boy in Callendar Woods, Falkirk.

Lord Uist imposed a sentence of three years detention and extended the time spent on licence by two years.  He was freed in November 2007.

In 2002, Bermingham’s father John Bermingham was jailed for trying to rape an 11-year-old girl walking home from a dance class and dragging an 18-year-old nursing assistant into bushes near Edinburgh’s Cameron Toll shopping centre.

The two sex attacks were carried out within an hour on November, 2000. Bermingham’s brother William was given a five year sentence after subjecting a teenage girl to a knife-point sex ordeal. That later became a life sentence when he attacked a woman prison officer with a home-made knife.