A MAN who lured a 13-year-old girl to his flat just days after walking free from jail – after serving just half of his term, despite being branded “very high risk” – now faces more than five years behind bars.
Darren Mitchell, 20, was given a 30-month jail term last March after he admitted luring a 13-year-old girl back to his home in Kirriemuir, Angus, and taking turns to have sex with her with his twin brother, Nathan.
But Mitchell walked free after serving 15 months in jail thanks to the automatic early release policy, which lets criminals go free after serving half their sentences.
Prison bosses were forced to release Mitchell despite him being rated as “at very high risk of sexual reoffending”, and police were forced to launch a covert surveillance sting, codenamed Operation Elliot, to keep tabs on him.
Just 16 days after being freed, they caught Mitchell – who has a string of previous sex offences dating back to 2008 – approaching a 13-year-old girl in Arbroath before luring her back to his flat and offering her alcohol.
He had faced a prison term of up to five years at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday – but a sheriff opted to send the case to the High Court for sentence, where longer jail terms can be imposed.
Fiscal depute Trina Sinclair told the court: “The accused was released from Polmont YOI [Young Offenders’ Institution] on 10 January this year and was considered very high risk of sexual reoffending.
“On 26 January, he was observed in Arbroath walking past a 13-year-old girl in the area.
“He walked past and smiled at her before approaching her and asking her for a cigarette and lighter.
“He said, ‘Come to mine’ and she left in his company and was seen going into the common close at his address.
“Suspecting she was under the age of 16, which would breach his sexual offences prevention order, a response plan was activated by police.
“She went up to his flat and sat on the settee with him sitting on another chair.
“The accused then offered her alcohol and said it was whisky before saying, ‘I barely know you – will you go out with me?’
“She felt uncomfortable and at around this time the security buzzer went as police officers arrived.”
Mitchell pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed at Forfar Sheriff Court.
Defence lawyer Grant Bruce said Mitchell had now been recalled by prison bosses to serve the unexpired 15 months of his original sentence.
He said yesterday: “There’s little I can say to counter the recommendation of the background reports.”
Sheriff Kenneth McGowan remanded Mitchell in custody and said: “In the circumstances, I’m going to remit this case to the High Court for sentence.”
Darren Mitchell had previously been banned from a library in Brechin after being caught watching pornography on a computer in the facility.
The twin brothers were also previously put on probation after carrying out lewd acts in front of children at a public park.