Francis Doherty was eventually found 12 days later after a widespread police appeal
A convicted sex offender who disappeared from a probation hostel prompting a police search has been jailed.
Francis Doherty fled a probation hostel where he was living after being released from prison and failed to inform officers where he was living, a court heard.
The 63-year-old, who was born in Bacup and has links to Rawtenstall and Haslingden, was eventually found 12 days later in Rochdale after Lancashire Police had launched an appeal to find him.
Doherty, who is subject to police notification requirements for life, pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to two counts of being a sex offender and failing to comply with notification requirements. He was jailed for 12 months.
Emma Kehoe, prosecuting, told the court how Doherty was staying at the Highfield House probation hostel in Accrington but failed to return on October 15 last year and didn’t tell police where he was going to be living.
The court heard Doherty, who has previously been jailed for separate offences of rape and sexual assault, was eventually caught in Rochdale on October 27.
Miss Kehoe said during this time he had opened a Santander bank account but failed to inform police of its details, which was also prohibited under his notification requirements.
The court was told there was ‘no suggestion’ Doherty had opened the bank account ‘for any sexually illicit purpose’.
The prosecutor said when Doherty was arrested and interviewed by police he made ‘full and frank admissions’ and ‘accepts he should have told them he wasn’t going back to the hostel’.
She told the court: “It’s apparent from his record that he’s been subject to the notification requirements for some time and has breached them in the past.
“He’s fully aware of what they are and how they work. He has received sentences in relation to those [breaches] each and every time and they appear to have got lengthier and lengthier each time.”
Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “You know your responsibilities under the relevant legislation to report your details to the police.
“The provisions are there to be adhered to and the courts are here to, in so far as the court can, to ensure that you do and to punish you properly if you don’t.”