December 2018

Convicted sex offender avoids jail after breaching order

A MAN who breached a sexual harm prevention order by having contact with girls under 16 has avoided being sent back to jail.

Daniel Rakestraw of Revidge Road, Blackburn, was sent to prison in July 2017 after being found guilty of three counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, and was made subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order

On Friday, he was back in court after it came to light he had breached the 10 year order by having contact with three girls between the ages of 12 and 15.

The court heard that Rakestraw, 25, had been released from prison under licence earlier this year and between then and October had attended three gatherings where this contact had been made possible.

Prosecuting, James Preece said despite there being no evidence that his behaviour was sexual, Rakestraw had made no effort to enquire as to the actual age of these girls, making the assumption that all of them were over the age of 16.

Presiding over the case in Preston, Judge Andrew Woolman said: “You pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order in that you had contact with three girls who were under the age of 16 and you also had contact with one of the girls via Facebook.

Rakestraw, who was cleared of rape in 2013, was handed a conditional discharge of two years.

July 2017

Man who had sex with girl, 14, in the back of his car in Blackburn is jailed

A man who had sex with a 14-year-old girl in the back of his car has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Daniel Rakestraw, 23, had sex with the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a number of times at locations in Blackburn after police found videos of the pair on her mobile phone.

Prosecuting Jeremy Grout-Smith said the grooming only came to light on May 11 when police noticed the girl sat in the front seat of Rakestraw’s Volkswagen Jetta in Montague Street, Blackburn, and decided to investigate because of how young she looked.

As they attempted to pull the vehicle over Rakestraw drove off, reaching speeds of up to 50mph in a 20mph zone and even going the wrong way down a one-way street. Such was the dangerousness of his driving police decided to end the pursuit, Mr Grout-Smith said.

The prosecutor said: “They later, being guided by the public, spotted the defendant and the teenager walking.” They stopped and spoke to them. It was obvious to them the teenager was frightened. She was shaking.”

Police found a small amount of cannabis in Rakestraw’s pocket and arrested him for drug offences and the dangerous driving. After finding his car nearby they found a cannabis grinder and lock knife in the boot, bed sheets and female clothing, including underwear, on the back seat.

Officers went to the teenager’s home and spoke to her father and seized her mobile phone. It was on that device they found the explicit videos.

During her interview the teenager said she first met Rakestraw, of no fixed address, at a funeral.

Mr Grout-Smith said: “She met him again at a friend’s 18h birthday party. She then told him her age.”

The court heard it was at that point they began texting and met up at the Blackburn Christmas lights switch on. They began a sexual relationship, which the teenager said was consensual, in his car in February. They had sex a number of times in the months before his arrest.

Mr Grout-Smith said the day before his arrest Rakestraw had been kicked out of his house and that night he and the teenager had slept in his car.

Rakestraw, who was acquitted of rape in 2013, pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, driving without due care and attention, possession of cannabis, and possession of a bladed article.

During the trial in 2013, it was said that he dragged a 16-year-old girl away from her friends in the street, tied her to a bed and raped her

Giving recorded video evidence, the 16-year-old said she feared Rakestraw would stab her if she did not do what he said

Deciding against imposing an extended sentence Judge Jonathan Gibson jailed Rakestraw for 26 months, made him subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and ordered him to sign the Sexual Offender’s Register for 10 years. He also received six penalty points for the driving offence.