A SEX offender taken in by a woman to “give him a chance” on release from prison, tried to entice her daughter to “snuggle in” with him on the sofa on the first night, a court heard.

Joshua Bate, who is now said to identify as a female, ‘Lily’, was jailed for seven years in 2015 for rape of a young woman after entering her flat and removing her clothing.

Durham Crown Court heard that after release on licence, Bate sexually assaulted a school girl on a bus and was jailed for a further six months, in 2020, while also having to serve the full remainder of the original seven-year sentence.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Bate was released from prison in the Midlands on New Year’s Eve and after joining a Facebook group, was invited to stay at the home of a woman in County Durham, who thought he/she should be given “a chance”.

Having travelled by train northwards, Bate was met by her at Durham station and went to stay at her home, on January 3.

The plan was for Bate to sleep on the sofa and not to go upstairs, where her daughters were in their bedrooms.

Mr Baker said during the first night, the woman’s 12-year-old daughter went into her bedroom and showed her messages sent from a phone, registered as ‘Lily’s’.

In them the girl was invited to creep downstairs and to “snuggle in” under the covers with Bate, where they could lie, “face to face”.

Bate also asked the girl: “Do you mind if my hands wander and we kiss on the lips. Don’t feel awkward. This is our secret”

She was also told to only come downstairs if her sisters were asleep.

The girl replied that Bate was, “being a paedo” and blocked further messages.

Mr Baker told the court that on seeing the messages the girl’s mother got out of bed and contacted the police as well as confronting Bate, who was arrested.

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When interviewed, Bate admitted having sent the messages and said they were sexually motivated.

Bate regretted it and said it would have been, “limited to kissing and cuddling”, but accepted posing a risk to children and being unable to control himself/herself, in the presence of children.

In her victim statement, the girl’s mother told the court she now regretted the “snap decision” to allow Bate to stay at her home, adding: “He says he wishes to change sex and identity.

“He’s a sex offender no matter what changes he makes.

“I feel he’s a danger to everybody, but particularly vulnerable people and younger girls.”

Bate, 25, now care/of HMP Durham, admitted inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Peter Sabiston, mitigating, said the defendant has not sought to minimise the offending and, “there was clearly immediate remorse” when confronted.

“It was a simple and short grooming incident, a short incitement.”

Mr Sabiston said Bate, “accepted there would have been some sexual contact, but certainly not serious and penetrative activity.”

Judge Ray Singh said he considers Bate poses “a significant risk” of serious offending and, therefore, passed an extended 40-month prison sentence, “to protect the public”.

It means Bate must serve two-thirds of the sentence before being eligible to apply for parole and may have to serve the entire 40-months.

On release, Bate will be subject to five years’ extended licence period.

Bate was made subject of a lifetime restraining order relating to the girl, plus indefinite registration as a sex offender, while also being subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, again indefinitely.

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