Sex offender found drunk in Grassmarket pub after absconding

A SEX offender who was jailed for life was found drunk in the Grassmarket after escaping from prison.

Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 1:17 pm
Convicted sex offender Brian Travers.

Brian Travers, 43, who was jailed with another man for life in 2002 for sexually assaulting and robbing a woman in her home, was repeatedly let out for “home” visits.

But when he confessed to meeting prostitutes, he was told his privileges would be removed.

He packed a bag and walked out of the prison and spent ­several days on the run before being found drunk in a pub in the Grassmarket.

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Travers, now in HMP Glenochil, admitted staging a prison break from Castle Huntly in Dundee on Friday, July 8 and remaining on the run until Tuesday, July 12 this year.

Fiscal depute Carol Whyte told Perth Sheriff Court: “The accused was serving a life sentence imposed in 2002. He had a variety of home leaves from last year, which varied between one and eight days.

“He was granted a week-long leave and met with the offender management officer, DC Hunt. The accused disclosed he had been meeting sex workers and was recalled to Castle Huntly.

“Two days later, on July 8, there was no trace of the accused within the prison. CCTV was viewed and it showed the accused leave his cell. At the time he was carrying a black holdall.

“There was a full search of the prison and grounds but no trace was found. He was arrested at 1.23am on July 12 in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh.”

Solicitor Nicky Brown, defending, said: “It was all going in the correct direction until he had this meeting with the police officer who raised concerns.

“He got a call at home to say he would be taken back to Castle Huntly the same evening. When he got back, his first impression was that he hadn’t been contravening any conditions and his privileges would not be downgraded. However, that changed and it quickly dawned upon him that there would be huge consequences for him, including a return to more secure conditions.

“He made the stupid decision to abscond with no real plan what he was going to do. He felt so low he took the opportunity to leave and was found drunk in a pub.”

Travers, who sustained a broken arm during the course of being arrested, was jailed for a further 16 months by Sheriff Lindsay Foulis.

A spokesman for Rape Crisis Scotland said: “It is essential that public safety is paramount in any arrangements made for the management of sex offenders. Where current arrangements are failing to offer the necessary protection, safer alternatives must be put in place.”

An SPS spokesman said: “The number of absconds are at historic low levels.”

By the time Travers and accomplice Paul Gargaro, 47, were jailed for life in 2002, they both already had a long history of committing violent sex crimes.

The duo forced their way into their victim’s Edinburgh flat before subjecting the 45-year-old university lecturer to a degrading and sustained attack.

During the attack she was forced to disclose her PIN for a bank card and was robbed of credit cards, cash, ­jewellery and a mobile phone.

Travers was trapped because he licked her ear as she was bound and blindfolded and ­being threatened with rape. ­Police were able to get a sample which matched his DNA.

He was jailed for seven years in 1997 at the High Court in Edinburgh for a sex attack on a 20-year-old American student whom he punched, forced to partly undress and subjected to degrading abuse in a city park.