December 2018

Darwen sex offender Stephen Sullivan was left alone with children

A CONVICTED sex offender who failed to notify police that he had been staying in a house with children has been jailed.

Stephen James Sullivan, 28, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court after he failed to tell authorities that he had been sleeping in a house where three young children were present.

Sullivan, who was made subject of a sexual harm prevention order in 2015 for making indecent images of a child, was also left unattended with the children while their mother went shopping. The court heard how the woman was aware of Sullivan’s previous convictions and that there was no suggestion that anything untoward had happened while he was left with them.

The defendant went to the home of the woman after a Facebook conversation resulted in her inviting him over. Sullivan, of South Street, Darwen, then went to the address where he engaged in a sexual relationship with the woman’s sister.

He stayed in the house for three nights until family friends became concerned and took the children away.

Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said: “Some kind of romantic liaison was taking place between the defendant and the sister of the woman who lived in the house. The woman, a mother, had three children aged six, four and two in the house. He was observed play fighting with the children and at one point allowed one of them, a young boy, to sit on his knee.

“But particular concern was raised when he was left alone with the children.”

The court heard how the sisters had left Sullivan alone with the children while they went shopping. While they were out friends had called over and found the children had been left with a man they had never seen before. They became concerned and took them from the house. There were also worries about the state of the home, which was dirty and in disrepair.

When the two sisters returned from shopping they became panicked and called the police. It was at this stage the authorities became aware that Sullivan had been left with the children.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to breaching his sexual harm prevention and breaching a suspended sentence order.

Presiding over the case, Judge Simon Newall said: “When the mother returned from shopping and her children were not there, she felt as though her children had been kidnapped.

“The two people who had taken the children after they became concerned were friends of the children’s father. It seemed like the responsible thing of them to have done. The father now has custody of the children after social services became involved.”

Sullivan was jailed for 14 months.

January 2014

Darwen men abducted school boy

TWO men have pleaded guilty to abducting a 14-year-old boy, one of whom had sexual activity with him.

A court heard how after persuading the teenager to meet him in the middle of the night, Stephen Sullivan, 23, (pictured) of Entwistle Street, Darwen, then gave the boy alcohol.

After heading back to Sullivan’s house for more drink, the pair continued walking until they reached the flat of, 21, of Bridge Street, Darwen.

McKenna, who had spent four months in custody before yesterday’s hearing, then began to kiss the victim in a way in which the boy described as ‘proper full on kissing’.

The youth also sustained a love bite on his neck and a bite on his lip.

Both defendants admitted abduction of a child and McKenna also pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child.

Preston Crown Court was told that Sullivan, who had already served 40 days in custody, and the teen had each known about the other’s sexuality.

Sentencing both defendants to community orders with supervision for two years, Judge Anthony Russell said much more serious charges had originally been put forward, but since dropped.

He said: “It is a very, very different case from the one that appeared to be the case.”

Judge Russell told Sullivan: “You should not have invited a 14-year-old boy to leave his house in the middle of the night.

“It was an irresponsible act which could have led to serious consequences for him because you were out and about in Darwen at night. He was out of the control of his mother.”

The judge also told McKenna that he should not have been prepared to invite the boy into his home.

Daniel King, for McKenna, said his client had expressed ‘genuine remorse’ and that he had ‘learnt an important lesson’.

Simon Gurney, who defended Sullivan, told the court: “He is a young man of good character who pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”