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Convicted paedophile accused of SOPO breaches says it will be police fault if he self-harms

He faces six counts of loitering in the vicinity of a primary school as well as having unsupervised contact with children

Dungannon Court

A convicted paedophile who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old friend of his children has been remanded in custody on a plethora of alleged Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) breaches by repeatedly being in the vicinity of a primary school.

When arrested and charged Gareth Kitchener (37) from Millbrook Gardens, Castlederg stated he would self-harm and “on police heads be it”.

He faces six counts of loitering in the vicinity of a primary school as well as having unsupervised contact with children between February 22 and March 13.

A detective sergeant told a special sitting of Dungannon Magistrates’ Court all charges could be connected.

She explained on March 13 a member of the public reported Kitchener was at a petrol station opposite Omagh County Primary School with two young children.

Enquiries revealed while these were his children, he is only permitted supervised contact.

The following day police attended the petrol station and observed Kitchener enter and walk to the rear of the premises, then peer over shelving and allegedly asked a member of staff, “are they looking for me?”

At this time he was aware police were actively seeking him.

He allegedly left in a car, which was located at an address nearby, before becoming “verbally aggressive and obstructive with police, locking the car doors and refusing to open them”.

An officer attempted to open the car door by putting his arms through a partially open window, but Kitchener drove off, court heard.

Police managed to open the door, however, the court was told he “actively resisted arrest”.

Meanwhile, CCTV footage at the petrol station allegedly showed Kitchener had breached the SOPO on five occasions over the previous fortnight.

The detective continued: “Bail is strongly opposed. Police are aware of (SOPO) breaches on a number of occasions, but there may be more.”

On January 19 police stopped him for speeding and a child was allegedly present in the vehicle.

Court was told Kitchener and his ex-partner “denied everything about this”, however, when spoken to alone, the child confirmed being in the car.

“It is these blatant fabrications by the ex-partner which make her unsuitable to supervise contact,” said the detective.

Kitchener was charged with breaching the SOPO and released on bail, however, investigations showed he repeated this just two days later, and again a further five times by being near the school.

During interview, he described parking behind a wall as it was out of sight of his boss who may have thought he was skiving, but “police believe he parks in the same spot on an almost daily basis, to facilitate unsupervised contact with his children and effectively go unnoticed. He is going out of his way to park in a child-centred location at school finishing time. This contact is prolonged.”

The detective continued: “The SOPO is in place due to the risk he poses. He is adamant he will continue to go to the filling station despite it being near a primary school during opening hours. When charged he repeatedly stated he wouldn’t be attending court.”

Whilst in custody Kitchener frequently referenced his mental health because of the arrest and charges, repeatedly stating he would self-harm and “on police heads be it”.

A defence solicitor stated Kitchener “accepts he attends the garage almost daily but not at set times. He denies the charges and insists he is not in breach of the SOPO … He assures he will abide by any conditions the court may impose”.

However, District Judge Michael Ranaghan said: “That undertaking carries little or no weight. The SOPO is there to protect the vulnerable. The defendant presents a real risk of further offending and bail could not be managed.”

Kitchener will appear again by video-link in Omagh Magistrates court on April 9.

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