File picture: Kathleen O’Rourke/Independent Media Archives

London - A convicted pervert who wants to travel to other countries to have sex with children has failed in his challenge to an order that restricts his movements abroad.

Jason Leonard admits wanting the freedom to travel to a country where the age of consent is lower so he could form a sexual relationship.

Police said the 37-year-old told them his ‘ideal’ partner, would be aged between 12 and 14, Burnley Crown Court heard. Officers describe him as dangerous but Leonard claimed paedophiles in the UK are being ‘persecuted’ and likened his treatment by society to that of homosexuals 40 years ago and the Jews in the Second World War.

However, after losing a court appeal, an order remains in place that means he can only travel abroad if he has written permission from a chief constable.

Leonard, from Haslingden, Lancashire, was jailed for 32 months in 2013 after downloading 251 indecent images of children and then sharing them on the internet.

He was placed under a sexual offences prevention order to monitor his internet use but Lancashire Police said it was no longer ‘sufficient to manage his risk’ and were granted a sexual harm prevention order by magistrates in April.

Its measures prevent Leonard from having any unsupervised contact with a child under 16 without the express permission of a parent/guardian or social services and bans overseas travel without permission from a chief constable. Leonard claimed the order was ‘completely disproportionate’ and appealed to have it revoked.

Detective Constable Andrew Ashworth, who manages more than 90 registered sex offenders in Lancashire, told the court that Leonard is ‘one of the most dangerous offenders I’ve met’ and that he posed an ‘exceptional risk’.

He said: ‘Mr Leonard is unique ... I have never met a sexual offender who quite openly acknowledges his paedophilic tendencies. He has expressed his desire to leave the country because he believes the police, judiciary and government are persecuting paedophiles. He likens it to the persecution of homosexuals 40 years ago.

‘He believes that in the fullness of time paedophilia will be accepted in the same way that homosexuality is today.’

The appeal hearing heard that Leonard watches ‘very child orientated’ adult pornography with ‘models dressed to look like cheerleaders or in school uniforms’.

DC Ashworth said that when he asked Leonard in March this year what age is too young for sexual activity, the pervert’s sickening reply was: ‘If a child is old enough to talk it’s old enough to have sex.’ Asked about his views on rape, Leonard replied: ‘No comment.’

The officer said Leonard’s mother, who he has a close connection with, helps curb his ‘sexual lifestyle’. But DC Ashworth added: ‘He has indicated that when she dies, and she is an elderly woman in her 80s, he will go abroad to seek children. For me the only pro-social influence in his life at the moment is his mother.’

Stuart Kaufman, representing Leonard, said the restrictions were ‘completely disproportionate’ and told the court: ‘Mr Leonard said he would always abide by the laws of whichever country he goes to.

‘If the age of consent is say 15 in Thailand then he would abide by that law.’

Judge Sara Dodd dismissed Leonard’s appeal and said he was ‘deeply disturbed’, with a ‘frankly alarming attitude to paedophilia’.