Jail for sex as­sault home­less man

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

A HOME­LESS man with a his­tory of child sex of­fences has been jailed af­ter he sex­u­ally as­saulted a nine-year-old girl while camp­ing in Bun­bury.

Liam Eltin Kear­ney, 56, was sen­tenced in the Bun­bury District Court on Mon­day af­ter he pleaded guilty to three counts of in­de­cently deal­ing with a child un­der 13.

The court was told, Kear­ney was re­leased from prison in April last year af­ter spend­ing more than six years be­hind bars for sim­i­lar sex­ual of­fences.

Un­able to find work, Kear­ney set up camp and was liv­ing out of a tent when he be­friended the young girl and her mother who were also stay­ing at the camp­site in Jan­uary this year. Kear­ney com­mit­ted the of­fences while he and the girl were in his tent over two separate oc­ca­sions, the court was told.

Lawyer Derek Hunter said Kear­ney and the mother spent a lot of time drink­ing al­co­hol to­gether and at the time of the of­fences he was “very drunk”.

Mr Hunter said Kear­ney had com­pleted a sex of­fend­ers treat­ment pro­gram dur­ing his last stint in jail, but he did not think he would start drink­ing to such ex­cess.

He said Kear­ney – know­ing now he would be go­ing back to jail – had plans to make con­tact with Al­co­holics Anony­mous once sen­tenced.

State pros­e­cu­tor Sarah Ka­vanagh ar­gued there were el­e­ments of per­sis­tence and groom­ing in Kear­ney’s of­fend­ing.

Judge An­drew Stavri­anou said a vic­tim im­pact state­ment out­lined the ef­fect of Kear­ney’s ac­tions.

Judge Stavri­anou said Kear­ney took ad­van­tage of a vul­ner­a­ble child.

Kear­ney was jailed for two years and nine months and was made eli­gi­ble for pa­role.

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