Child rapist, 65, who abused five girls dies in prison after catching coronavirus

A DEPRIVED child rapist jailed for historic sex attacks in the 1980s and 1990s has died in jail after testing positive for Covid-19.

Brian Learmonth, 65, was discovered in his cell on a coronavirus isolation wing at Stafford prison in Staffordshire on October 8.

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He had been transferred to D wing days before and was found by guards struggling to breath.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Learmonth, serving a sentence of 12 years and six months, but he was pronounced dead.

A source said: "Learmonth tested positive for Covid and his health deteriorated.

"He had been held in the isolation ward to protect others and he was given round-the-clock care.

"His death highlights the risk of covid in the prison environment."

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “HMP Stafford prisoner Brian Learmonth died in prison on October 8. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”

Learmonth pleaded guilty in October 2014 to a variety of sexual offences against children in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

He admitted three counts of rape, one of indecent assault, one of taking indecent photographs and one of possession of and distribution of indecent photographs.

JAILED FOR LIFE

In January, 2015, at Shrewsbury Crown Court, he was put behind bars and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The court heard Learmont abused five girls on numerous occasions between the late 1980s and mid 1990s while he was resident in Shrewsbury.

Detective Constable Sarah Smither from Shrewsbury CID said at the time: "It has taken many years for Learmonth's victims to contact the police.

"I would like to commend them for their courage in coming forward to report the offences to the police and for placing their trust in the judicial system.

"I hope today's sentencing goes some way to helping his victims come to terms with what they have been through."

Detective Inspector Mark Bellamy, who led the investigation team in Shrewsbury, also said: "This has been a lengthy investigation, which took a huge amount of time and effort to get to the point where Learmonth has finally been brought to justice.

"We work closely with other agencies to ensure victims of sexual abuse are given all the support possible.

"I would like to reassure anyone who has been or is a victim of child abuse, that they can contact the police and that they will be treated in a caring and sensitive manner. Together with our partner agencies, will give them all the support we can and where possible prosecute those responsible."

COVID IN PRISON

Latest figures show the prison death toll from coronavirus has reached 45 – amid fears that a second wave will hit jails.

There have been 23 prisoner and 22 staff deaths from Covid-19, Ministry of Justice figures reveal. The stats are up to September 30 and do not include the death of Mr Learmonth.

A total of 630 prisoners, including children, tested positive for covid-19 across 89 establishments. 

Since August, there has been a monthly increase of 80 positive cases. 

Also, 316 prisoners have been released under the Covid-19 temporary release schemes.

In September, a paedo rapist due to be freed died in prison just days after being told more victims have come forward.

Brian Daniels, 74, was on the verge of being released after serving an 18-year sentence.

The former bus driver told cops "I don't deserve to die" when cops told him three more victims came forward.

Daniels got a six year and eight month sentence on September 21 – and died six days later on September 27 at HMP Durham.

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