Offenders of particular concern

The sentencing regime for offenders of particular concern in provided in Sections 236A and 244A and Schedule 18A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. They can only be used for certain extremely serious crimes including terrorism offences and serious sexual offences against children under 13. For offenders sentenced under this regime to be released on licence, the parole board must be satisfied that they no longer pose a danger to the public.

Lincolnshire paedophile jailed as 'offender of particular concern'


A Lincolnshire man has been jailed for 26 years for committing a series of sexual offences against a nine-year-old girl.

John MacPherson, from Wisbech, was tried and convicted of thirteen offences at Lincoln Crown Court, including six counts of sexual assault on a child under 13; one count of taking indecent photographs of a child; one count of causing a child to watch a sexual act; causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and assault of a child under 13 by penetration. He abused his victim on several occasions, and his offending was discovered when he left her needing hospital treatment.

He was sentenced to 26 years in prison. The sentence was passed using powers in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 for sentencing offenders of particular concern. This means that instead of being released on licence after serving half his sentence, he will be referred instead to the parole board. They will decide whether it is safe to be released or whether he must serve the full custodial term.

Andrew Semple, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS East Midlands rape and serious sexual offences team said: "John MacPherson abused his innocent young victim in the most cold-hearted and ruthless manner. The nature of his offending - the way he targeted and groomed his young victim and calculated the ways he could abuse her is truly abhorrent.

"Not only that, he refused to acknowledge what he had done, despite the overwhelming evidence, and forced his victim and her family to give evidence in court. He even tried to blame his victim in his defence, refusing to take responsibility for his actions and showing no remorse for what he had done. The jury had no hesitation in convicting him, returning verdicts on all 13 counts in two hours.

"At the centre of this case is a very brave little girl, who despite the horrifying abuse she has suffered has given evidence to ensure that MacPherson is now in prison where he belongs. We were able to help her through the process by using her video recorded evidence as evidence in chief and the court allowed her to give further evidence at the trial through a video link, so she did not have to come into court and face her abuser. Even with this support, it cannot have been easy. Her courage has been outstanding."