North East Wales

Jail warning after Prestatyn sex offender confronts girl, 10

A convicted sex offender who grabbed a 10-year-old girl by the throat has been warned he faces a substantial jail sentence.

Darrell Mercer, 28, from Prestatyn, was found guilty of trespass with the intent to commit a sexual offence.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard the girl woke up at home to find an intruder crouching over her bed.

Mercer was convicted of indecent assault against a nine-year-old girl in 2002.

Left behind

The jury heard how in the latest incident the youngster, now aged 11, screamed and crawled out of her bed but he had grabbed her wrist and then gripped the girl's throat.

"I was really scared," the girl said in a video interview played to the court. She had been kicking and punching out.

Prosecuting counsel Jayne La Grua said the girl's mother ran upstairs and met Mercer on the landing and tried to take hold of him.

He gave another name and claimed he thought it was his house and he had to lie down because he had hurt his leg.

Police were called but Mercer left behind a jacket and mobile phone.

Mercer admitted assaulting the girl by grabbing her wrist and neck.

The girl's mother had been watching TV downstairs when she heard the front door being pushed open and she got up and heard screaming.

Judge Paul Thomas QC remanded Mercer in custody for a pre-sentence report to consider whether he represented a danger to young girls.

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