One of Scotland’s most dangerous sex attackers was back behind bars last night after he was caught with a ‘disguise kit’ while trying to chat up a lone woman on a canal bank.
Serial sex offender John Bermingham was caught engaging the 59-year-old woman in conversation - breaking the terms of one of the most severe court orders ever imposed, banning him from talking to any women outwith his family - at the Union Canal in Falkirk.
Bermingham, 52, orginally from Muirhouse, was carrying three different hats, two different pairs of glasses and a spare jacket when apprehended.
Bermingham first hit the headlines when he was jailed for 12 years in 2002 for sexually assaulting a teen and an 11-year-old girl in the space of an hour in the Capital.
He attacked his first victim, an 18-year-old nursing assistant, at the Cameron Toll shopping centre in Edinburgh’s southern suburbs in November 2000. He dragged her into bushes and threatened to stab and kill her. An hour later he assaulted the 11-year-old girl outside the Newington Library, just over a mile from the city centre.
Earlier this year he was cleared of trying to abduct two little girls by pretending to have lost his jacket and offering them cash to help him find it. When arrested he was found to be in posession of condoms, sweets and sleeping pills.
The jury returned a verdict of not proven after the giols could not identify him as their attacker. Jailing him for three years yesterday for his latest offence, a sheriff said he had deliberately “gone equipped” to change his appearance.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told that Bermingham, 52, was subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed eight years ago.
The order forbids him from approaching, contacting, communicating with, or being in the company of any female not a relative.
Samantha Brown, prosecuting, said that on May 18th (2018) a Police Scotland team keeping tabs on Bermingham began surveillace of him about midday.
Ms Brown said: “He was seen going about his business, and it was noted that he was changing his clothing in the course of the day.
“In particular a hat was changed for a hat of a different colour.”
Bermingham, now of Falkirk, pleaded guilty to breaching his SOPO.
James Smith, defending, said Bermingham “did not dispute the factual position”.
Imposing the jail term, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Bermingham: “You were clearly intent on breaching this order.
“You had changed your appearance once during the course of this surveillance, and you went equipped to facilitate further changes.
“You have a conviction for rape and attempted rape. Only a significant sentence is appropriate.”