Northern Ireland news

Sex offender who fled secure mental health clinic sparking police search to be detained for further year

A SEX offender who fled a secure mental health clinic sparking a police search, has been jailed for three months.

However District Judge Nigel Broderick told Brandon Rainey that “to some extent” his powers had been overtaken by a decision by a mental health tribunal to detain him in the unit for a further year.

Rainey, with an address at the Shannon Clinic in Knockbracken Healthcare Park in south Belfast, had earlier entered guilty pleas to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) on February 12 by residing at an address without approval and failing to comply with the sex offenders registers.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that Rainey (25), a category three high risk sex offender, went missing after going out to smoke a cigarette.

Staff at a Covid testing centre, which is located at the entrance to Knockbracken, saw him get into a taxi which drove off.

The court heard that that at the time Rainey was “wearing two tracksuits and had a large sum of cash with him.”

The disappearance sparked a police search, including the use of a helicopter but the lawyer told the court Rainey managed to evade arrest for four days.

He told police he was aware of the terms of his SOPO, which was imposed following a court case in 2015, but had wanted to visit his brother in Ballymena.

In that case, Rainey was jailed for rape and sexual assault after the mother of a 12-year-old girl caught him in bed with her daughter but within hours of being freed in 2016, Rainey was re-arrested after a probation officer told a court he planned to “get off his head and have sex on the day of his release.”

At Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday defence counsel Neil Moore said there had been a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia along with other behavioural disorders “tied to psychotic drug misuse.”

He revealed that last week, a meeting of the mental health tribunal had ordered that Rainey be detained under the mental health act for another year to allow him receive further treatment.

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