Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Castration 'may help stop rapist'

Jonathan Berminham/Ross. Pic by Ciaran Donnelly
Ross was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh

A sex offender who raped a 14-year-old boy who was playing truant from school has suggested "chemical castration" may stop him carrying out future attacks.

Jonathan Bermingham, 19, who prefers to be known as Jonathan Ross, was given a lifelong restriction order for the attack in Falkirk.

Judge Lord Uist sentenced him to serve four-and-a-half years in detention.

Ross, who also attacked a nine-year-old boy in 2002, has been on the sex offenders register since the age of 13.

Frances McMenamin QC, defending, told the High Court in Edinburgh that her client recognised he had problems controlling his sexual urges.

She said: "Ross himself has raised the issue of whether what he calls 'chemical castration' might be helpful to him."

Advocate depute Iain McSporran had told an earlier court hearing that Ross approached the boy at Glenfuir Road in Falkirk on 12 June last year.

He said: "The accused gave the impression of also being a schoolboy playing truant, saying he didn't want to hide there because police would find him and that he would show him a better place to hide."

If the courts were to look for some explanation for why Ross finds himself in court today one does not have to delve very deeply
Frances McMenamin QC

After luring the child to a small wooded area, the accused told him to sit down and demanded "let me kiss you".

When the child began to shout for help, Ross told him "shout and you're dead".

He then raped the boy before leaving the scene.

The boy, who now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, was hysterical when he got home and told his sister he had been raped.

Ross was caught after DNA samples linked him with the attack.

Strict supervision

She said Ross had grown up in "a highly sexualised environment" and had never learned appropriate sexual behaviour.

"If the courts were to look for some explanation for why Ross finds himself in court today one does not have to delve very deeply," she said.

Ms McMenamin added that Ross recognised there would be a weighty sentence attached to the crime: "Because of the gravity of the offence and because of the whole background in this case which, I think it has to be recognised, is in a league of its own."

Lord Uist, who had sentenced Ross for the previous attack on a nine-year-old boy, told him that a report into his crimes had concluded he was "highly likely" to commit further serious sexual offences against young males.

The judge imposed a lifelong restriction order, with a punishment period of four-and-a-half years in custody.

Upon his release from prison he will remain under strict supervision for the rest of his life.

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