Appeal for information on missing sex offender connected to the border

Appeal for information on missing sex offender connected to the border

Information sought on James Taggart

Police in Northern Ireland are appealing for information about the whereabouts of a convicted sex offender they believe has connections along the border region.

Police say 27-year-old James Taggart has been missing since the end of January when he was last seen in the Portadown area where he had been living in a hostel.

He is currently unlawfully at large after his licence was revoked, and police fear he may have fled across the Border.

Taggart had served a seven-year jail sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in Enniskillen in 2012. He was 17 at the time of the attack, which was committed while on licence from prison for an earlier assault.

He was initially sentenced to nine years in prison for rape, but this was reduced to seven years on appeal.

Dungannon Crown Court heard how Taggart had met the woman in a bar. Giving evidence, his victim said during the attack at Taggart's home she could hardly breathe and had feared for her life.

When arrested, Taggart denied any wrongdoing, but these claims were rejected by a jury which unanimously found him guilty of raping and assaulting the victim after a 10-day trial.

Taggart is described as 5’7”, slim build (around 63.5 kg), short light brown hair with receding hairline, short brown full beard, blue eyes and speaks with a Fermanagh accent.

“It is believed that James has been seen recently in the Essex area of England. He is known to have connections in Bradford, Lancaster and Liverpool and he is known to have connections to the Fermanagh, Belfast and Londonderry/Derry areas,” say the PSNI.

Police are also appealing to Taggart directly to hand himself in.

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