A MAN who broke into the bedroom of two young girls with the intention of committing a sexual offence has been jailed for 10 years.
Luke McHugh, 20, who lives in Knowsley, Merseyside, broke into the house on July 22, 2021, at around 3am.
He made off when confronted by the girls' father, who investigated after hearing a noise in their room at the Merseyside residence.
When McHugh was arrested a month later, he was found to be in possession of children's clothing, unused condoms and a sexual lubricant.
Previous child sex offences
District Crown Prosecutor Keith Drummond, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said McHugh targeted the property after concluding children lived in the house.
"The Crown Prosecution Service's case was that Luke McHugh was intending to commit a child sexual offence when he broke into this house," said Mr Drummond.
"He has seen items outside and inside the house that indicated children lived there and targeted it accordingly.
"This, combined with the items found in his own accommodation, his sexual interest in children and previous record for sexual offences against children, made the CPS determined that the charges he faced addressed the full extent and intention of his actions on that night."
On the night of the incident, the girls' father heard a noise and went to their bedroom, where he saw the shadow of a man.
He shouted at him to get out as he struggled to switch the light on.
McHugh escaped through the window, onto a ladder he had propped outside and made off through neighbouring gardens.
Police examined CCTV from the area and McHugh was seen to have been prowling around the property in the nights leading up to the incident.
He was arrested at his home on August 19, during which items of children's clothing were found in his room.
In a bag were further items of children's clothing, some unused condoms and a sexual lubricant.
Escaped specialist accommodation
McHugh has previous convictions for sexual offences against children and lives in secure, specialist accommodation.
He was permitted to go out each day for a walk with a support worker but got out of the room on the night of the offence by breaking a secure window.
He was initially charged with burglary with intent to steal and appeared before magistrates on August 21, 2021.
But after receiving further evidence from the police, the CPS authorised a fresh charge of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence to fully reflect McHugh's offending and provide the opportunity for a longer sentence.
McHugh pleaded guilty to this new charge on January 10, 2022 and on Friday was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for the maximum sentence of 10 years.
In a Victim Personal Statement heard by the court, the children's mother said the incident had left her with 'overwhelming guilt'.
"I don't have the words to explain the torment I feel knowing he was moments away from forever changing their little lives purely for his perverse and abhorrent sexual gratification," read the statement.
"The events have been truly traumatic and the guilt I feel for not having protected the people who need me the most is overwhelming.
"My husband and I have yet to decide if, when they're adults, we will tell our daughters the truth when they ask 'but WHY was that man in our bedroom last night Mummy?'"