Padiham child abuser behind bars

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A PADIHAM child abuser who was being hunted by police is now behind bars.

Builder Michael Booth (44) was arrested after flouting his bail conditions and appeared before a district judge at Burnley Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Booth, who is on the sex offenders’ register, had not been living and sleeping at Moor Lane, Padiham, the address he had been bailed to and had not told police where he was.

Booth was convicted of sexual assault, causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and paying for the sexual services of a child, on May 29th, after a three day trial at Minshull Street Crown Court, in Manchester. He will be sentenced there on July 5th.

The jury had been told how Booth had admitted having an intimate encounter with a 14-year-old schoolgirl in the back of his van after he was said to have handed over £60 in Manchester. He claimed he thought she was 18.

He had said: “I always ask how old they are for my own peace of mind.”

Booth, of no fixed address, yesterday admitted breaching the notification requirements and bail conditions, on or between May 29th and June 1st.

District Judge Peter Ward jailed him for 14 days for not notifying police where he was living and remanded him in custody until July 5 on the other offence.

Richard Taylor, for Booth, said he had been “very upset” about being convicted and had left court in a considerable hurry. The solicitor continued: “There was considerable press interest as well and he wanted to get out of there.”

Booth was dyslexic and couldn’t read what he was supposed to do. He should have “signed on” at the police station, but he failed to do so.

Mr Taylor said when Booth was released from court, he had gone to live with his girlfriend and not at Moor Lane. He had not left the area and there was no suggestion he had committed any other offences.

The solicitor added: “There is nothing sinister about his failing to sign on. It was his own inability to understand what he was supposed to do. He accepts he is going to be remanded in custody.”