Man jailed for breaking into a child’s bedroom with intent to commit a sexual offence

A man has been jailed for 10 years for breaking into the bedroom of a child in Merseyside with intent to commit a sexual offence against a child.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Luke McHugh, 20, who lives in Knowsley, broke into the house on  22 July 2021, at around 3am. It was the home of two young girls.

The father of the girls heard a noise and went to their bedroom to see the shadow of a man inside the room.

He shouted to him to get out as he struggled to switch the light on. He then saw McHugh escape through the window, onto a ladder he had propped outside and make off through neighbouring gardens.

The police were called.  CCTV from the area was examined and McHugh was seen to have been prowling around the property in the nights leading up to the incident.

McHugh was arrested  at his home on 19 August. Items of children’s clothing was found in his room. In a bag were further items of children’s clothing, some unused condoms and a  sexual lubricant.

McHugh has previous convictions for sexual offences against children and lives in secure, specialist accommodation. He would go out each day for a walk with a support worker. He got out of the room on the night of the offence by breaking a secure window.

It is thought he targeted the house he broke into as he had seen items both inside and outside that indicated young children lived there.

He was initially charged with burglary with intent to steal and appeared before Magistrates on 21 August 2021.

But the Crown Prosecution Service, after receiving further evidence from the police, authorised a fresh charge of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence to fully reflect McHugh’s offending and provide the opportunity for a longer sentence

McHugh pleaded guilty to this new charge on 10 January 2022. Today (8 April 2022) at Liverpool Crown Court, McHugh was jailed for 10 years, which is the maximum he could have been sentenced to for this offence. The Judge found the defendant to be dangerous.

A Victim Personal Statement from the children’s mother was read to the court. She said, “I don’t have the words to explain the torment I feel knowing he was moments away from forever changing their little lives purely for his perverse and abhorrent sexual gratification. The events have been truly traumatic and the guilt I feel for not having protected the people who need me the most is overwhelming…. My husband and I have yet to decide if, when they’re adults, we will tell our daughters the truth when they ask ‘but WHY was that man in our bedroom last night Mummy?”

District Crown Prosecutor Keith Drummond of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said, “The Crown Prosecution’s Service’s case was that Luke McHugh was intending to commit a child sexual offence when he broke into this house.

“He has seen items outside and inside the house that indicated children lived there and targeted it accordingly.

“This, combined with the items found in his own accommodation , his sexual interest in children and previous record for sexual offences against children, made the CPS determined that the charges he faced addressed the full extent and intention of his actions on that night.

“The CPS said that he planned this break-in, as he was seen on CCTV around the property in the nights leading up to it, and that he meant to commit the offence in the children’s own home.

“Luke McHugh shows a sinister interest in young children and appears not to have learned any lessons from his previous offending.

“We hope that the work done by Merseyside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to raise this incident from a break-in to a break-in with intent to commit a sexual offence against a child and the subsequent sentence is of some comfort to the family.

“They have been though a lot and we would like to thank them for their courage and support in this prosecution.”

Image: Luke McHugh

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