Published: March 22, 2010
Paedophile living in Burnham-On-Sea recalled to prison

A paedophile who was believed to be living in Burnham-On-Sea has been recalled to prison after concerns that he may have contacted children on social networking website Facebook.

Alain Hegarty has been arrested by Avon and Somerset Police, who are now investigating whether or not he is in breach of his licence following a two-and-a-half- year prison sentence imposed in June 2005.

The Bristol Evening Post reported on Monday (March 22nd) that suspicions about the 62-year-old arose when his victim's family saw his Facebook page earlier this month and became concerned that some of his 137 'friends' may be under 16.

Hegarty's profile picture was of a blue-haired cartoon character standing above the word 'hugs'. Below this was the line "Hippie, in heart, soul and mind" and the man's profile said he was looking for "networking".

A friend of the victim's family told the Bristol Evening Post: "We are more than relieved that he has been re-arrested and the police are looking into what he has been doing on Facebook. It is important for the safety of the person who was involved, and the general public."

Avon and Somerset police spokeswoman Claire Stanley said: "As a result of information received from the Evening Post, Alain Hegarty has been re-called to prison. Investigations currently remain ongoing around his conduct."

"Avon and Somerset police and the Probation Service would like to thank the Evening Post for bringing this to our attention."

Hegarty, formerly of Keynsham but believed to have been living in Burnham, is reported to have forced a young girl to rub his private parts then bribed her with £5 cash to keep it a secret.

Bristol Crown Court heard he had appeared naked in front of the child before sexually abusing her on two occasions.

Hegarty was convicted after trial, having denied two charges of causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity. The jury in the trial heard the child had been too scared to tell anyone after the first time she was abused on a sofa and two weeks later was abused again.

The victim told a female police officer that she did not know what he wanted when he first attacked her. Then, in a recorded statement, she said: "He just told me to keep it a secret. He told me, 'I'm giving you £5 spends for doing it."

Jailing the painter and decorator and ordering him to be placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely, Recorder John Trevaskis said: "It was clear that the experiences she underwent were distressing. They were wholly inappropriate. There's no doubt she will suffer long-term damage, psychological damage, as a result of her experiences."

Hegarty was told he would serve half his sentence in prison and the remainder on licence before then being placed on a three-year extended licence period "for the purposes of protecting the public".

During this time he would have to abide by strict guidelines and the police are now investigating whether or not he is in breach of his conditions. If he has breached the licence, Hegarty will have to stay in prison for the rest of the sentence, which is due to elapse in January.

It is not clear what those conditions are, but often there is a requirement for paedophiles not to contact anyone under the age of 16.

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