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How can we prevent him coming back? (Warning: upsetting content)

(59 Posts)
flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 12:31:54

Hi all,

I'm a regular but have name changed due to the sensitive nature of my post. I am praying some of you out there will be able to help - and apologies in advance for the distressing subject matter, but I am desperate for advice.

A few months ago, a neighbour of mine was convicted of peadophilia and imprisoned for 3 years. The details of his crimes were in the press and are absolutely horrific - the police apparently had him under surveillance due to his internet usage, and basically 'set him up' in order to catch him. His intention was to rape a 2 year old girl and a 7 year old boy: he went somewhere where he thought he would be able to commit this awful crime, but it was a sting operation and the police caught him. His home was raided, and he was found in possession of a vast amount of the highest category of child pornography etc. He lived alone, had no children and is in his mid-60's. The police believe that there are other victims, and appealed for them to come forward.

When this all became public knowledge, everyone on my street was, of course, shocked and horrified. This man had lived on my road for many years, and was generally regarded by most to be a harmless, eccentric loner. Some of the older residents who had known him for many years almost seemed to be in denial about it...

So at the moment, he is, thankfully, in prison. But I am losing sleep over what happens should he ever return to our road once his sentence is over. I have 3 children under 6 and this man's house is directly opposite ours. There are twelve families on our road with children under 10. Three doors down from this man's house, a woman works as a childminder in her house. Obviously, everyone feels deeply worried at the prospect of his return, particularly as there could be the possibility of him getting out early.

I know that there might be no cause for me to be worrying at this stage. He could die in prison, given his age; or he might well choose to live elsewhere once he is released. But I am desperately, desperately concerned that he could return, and I was wondering if there is anything at all that the community can do to prevent this from happening?

I don't want to come across as 'as long as he's not near MY family, that's ok'. Obviously, he is a threat to children wherever he is. However, I do know that he owns his (now sitting empty) house outright, having inherited it from his mother - and, this being London, it is worth a pretty large amount of money. Effectively, it could be sold and he could easily live elsewhere in a place where he is not surrounded by children. A retirement community, for example. I know that, wherever he goes, the police will be monitoring him - but that would not make the families here feel safe or comfortable should he come back. One might argue that you are actually safer if you KNOW where a peadophile is - and can therefore protect your kids accordingly - but I know that I (and many others on my street) would feel on edge constantly, and utterly sickened, should he return.

So - can anything be done? Does the prison service ever ensure that people do not return to their previous addresses once they are released? I was wondering if there is anything we, as a community, can collectively do? Could we, for example, take out some kind of a collective restraining order, given that we feel that he would be a threat to our children? I am also planning to post this in legal, but felt we might get more responses here.

Once again, I am desperate for advice. If there are any steps we can take, I want to get the ball rolling. Thank you so much in advance - I am worried sick.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 17-Feb-13 14:31:59

FarBetterNow... I didn't say that they're only released when they're cured. I don't believe that they're EVER cured. Some can put themselves out of harm's way and reduce the likelihood but it's down to parents and custodians of the children to keep them safe and out of reach.

As I said, I spent much time in case conferences and I hated every minute of it because it's not a forgiveable crime if there are such things, just like the crime of raping and killing elderly people. Despicable and beyond reason. Child-focused crimes receive more publicity.

WaterBiscuit Fri 15-Feb-13 23:48:50

Flora, sorry my post was more of a general nature. Absolutely accept that the person in this case has been convicted of one or more offences. I meant more generally, the level of threat he poses after his sentence is served may be affected by the sort of environment into which he is released.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 23:36:07

Water biscuit - unfortunately the police believe that our neighbour was/is a very serious threat to children and had committed abuse in the past.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 23:32:45

Izzy - my point was that I think it's a pretty rare situation, to know exactly where offenders are and have them living in such close proximity. Does everyone around you know also? I'm trying to gague how a community might ''cope' with this.

Feisty Lass- thank you. That is interesting....there is of course the argument that it's safer to know (as it may have been in the case of your sister's village). But there is also the argument that it's better for all concerned should a known offender not return to his previous abode - as was agreed by many was the case near your work...interesting and good to know.

WaterBiscuit Fri 15-Feb-13 23:27:56

Could someone help me with a definition of paedophilia here? As far as I know it isn't actually a statutory crime. Just saying . . . everyone needs to be careful with definitions, there's a wide range of statutory sexual offences not all of which are "serious". It does nobody any favours for all offenders to be lumped together as "paedophiles". Only a tiny minority pose a real danger. Vigilante action will only have the effect of shifting the problem and makng the ex-offender less likely to comply with whatever supervision/rehabilitation order s in place -effectively going "underground" and thereby posing more of a (unknown, socially disenfranchised, disengaged, hopeless) risk. Counter-intuitive though it may seem, re-integration and rehabilitation is probably the best bet with most ex-offenders, in terms of minimising risk and maximising compliance.

FeistyLass Fri 15-Feb-13 23:11:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

izzyizin Fri 15-Feb-13 23:02:44

Where do you think they're going to live, Flora? On an island populated by their own kind? In common with many other offenders, some of whom have committed heinous (in my view) crimes, the majority of sex offenders return to their usual stamping ground.

I know of 2 convicted paedophiles and 3 convicted sex offenders living within a 100 metre radius of my house which is in one of the more salubrious parts of the capital.

Frankly, I'd rather know than not know if my neighbours are not be what they seem to be as knowledge always has been, and always will be, power.

For this reason, I'm an advocate of Megan's Law coming into force in the UK.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 22:51:46

But surely the majority of paedophiles, upon release from prison, would not choose to live surrounded by people who know the nature of their past crimes? Do any of you live on a street where there is someone you know for sure is a paedophile? I wouldn't think this was a common situation whatsoever!

izzyizin Fri 15-Feb-13 22:24:41

It isn't at all rare for people to live near a known paedophile.

The fact that there are 3 primary schools within 10 minutes of this particular offender's home is unlikely to have any bearing on his right to return to his own property as he was found guitly of intent rather than an actual act of sexual abuse of a child.

Had he been found guity of sexual abuse of a child or children, he would have received a significantly longer sentence and more stringent conditions would be applied to him on release.

As it is, once he's done his time it's probable he will resume occupation of his own home and may, or may not, move out of the area of his own volition. FWIW, the only 'supervision' he's likely to receive will be in the form of compliance with ViSOR requirements.

I'm extremely sorry for your loss, LtEve. The law in such matters leaves much to be desired sad

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 22:03:21

Ps - evedallas, am so sorry about your brother. That sounds terrible.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 22:01:04

Sorry, posted too early- my point is, I think it's quite rare that people live in a community with a known paedophile? I'm not saying what is 'safer' at this point - but I'm curious as to what you mean?

Also about the sex offenders list and schools - there are 3 primary schools within 10 minutes of this guy's house.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:57:54

Thanks dundon- but surely in most areas, most of us don't know the location of any paedophiles?

dondon33 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:03:33

My initial reaction to reading the OP was to move but having read all the posts and thinking about it I honestly feel, in your shoes, I wouldn't risk moving to an area where I didn't know the location of paedophiles.
Yes it will be horrible and upsetting to see him return but you have the advantage of being able to warn and protect your children and others in the area against this sicko.
Hopefully he'll want to sell up and move somewhere else on his release but he'll be on the sex offs register so still won't be able to live near schools etc... and it's strange how people sometimes just 'find out' about a persons history when they move to a totally new area.

GypsyTart Fri 15-Feb-13 20:47:56

He probably will return to live in his own house. You'll be able to tell your children not to go anywhere near him and that should probably be that. He shouldn't be hounded out of an area where everyone knows what he is to an area where no one knows what he is.

LtEveDallas Fri 15-Feb-13 20:40:45

If OP cannot bear the thought of living across the road from this man, then she has no choice but to move. Rather than fight a losing battle with the authorities, living across from him when he is released and being unable to sell because she has to disclose issues with neighbours, she needs to put her house on the market now.

A sentence of 3 years means that he will be out after 18 months if he has behaved himself inside, less time already served pre-sentence.

The man that killed my brother got 3 years, he was out after 20 months.

wordyBird Fri 15-Feb-13 20:28:30

I know there can be a huge gulf between what ought to happen, and what does. And that authorities do not always make the most sensible or fair decisions.

Is there any way you could be comfortable living there, if he was released back to his home? This is not about how you ought to feel, but how you do feel.

If you would not be comfortable living there, and this is perfectly ok if you feel like that - could you consider moving? Given that, if you move there might be other issues where you move to. And there might not. It's expensive but if you are able, it is an option, though not without risk in itself.

FarBetterNow Fri 15-Feb-13 20:11:32

Flora, I think he only got three years because thankfully there wasn't a victim, except the poor kids he was viewing on the internet.
Personally, I think his perversion is incurable and he should be locked up forever.
I find Lying Witch's POV quite naive, if convicted paedophiles were only released when they were safe, why in God's name do they reoffend?

I have read of a case of a paedophile begging not to ever be released, because he knew he would not be able to control his urges. They ignored him, released him and within a week had raped another child. In that case I consider them to be as guilty as him.

Maybe, get in touch with the local probation Office as they will be responsible for him on his release - though no doubt they will cite Data Protection if they don't want to talk to you.

They decide if he is able to live at his home again or not.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 19:20:52

Thanks to all who've replied with supportive and useful info. Lily - very interesting. It alarms me greatly that being sentenced to prison for X years means you actually get half that time inside? That seems insane to me. I'll try to find out what applies to him.

To those who've warned against any vigilante type behaviour - I don't think I'd be posting here asking for advice if I thought we'd solve the problem by going round with pitchforks! As I keep explaining, it is more about if we can do anything to help prevent him returning in advance of his release. Interestingly a woman in legal said that she was aware of a case where an abuser was banned from going within X miles of the village in which he'd previously lived....

Again, this man is a threat wherever he goes. But I don't think it is ''better" to know, and for him to return here. It means a) the families in the vicinity are constantly on edge and b) he himself is more at risk from vigilante attacks.

And, call me naive, but this 'well, there is so much danger out there anyway" attitude isn't hugely helpful. I don't believe there are pedophiles lurking around every corner: I would say the plotting of such a heinous crime (rape of a toddler) is thankfully RARE. And I don't believe that it makes sense for such a criminal to live in a community so densely populated by families and schools - just as one might not think it's the best idea for a recovering alcoholic to work in a pub. Yes, he'll remains paed wherever he goes, but the less kids who are in his vicinity, the better, surely?

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.

Selba Fri 15-Feb-13 16:45:03

I work in a prison.
it is choc full of people who have committed terrible crimes that the world at large knows nothing about.

You are already rubbing shoulders with ex offenders everywhere you go.

izzyizin Fri 15-Feb-13 16:37:06

I don't know how long you've lived opposite this man's property, but it seems that others have co-existed with him for many years during which time he has apparently not posed any danger to children in the immediate vicinity.

As it stands, this man has done you and yours no harm and you have no grounds whatsoever on which to apply for injunctions or restraining Orders and the like.

Be very careful, Flora. I wouldn't want you to receive a police harassment warning, or be required to make an appearance in a criminal Court of Law because a known paedophile had cause for complaint about your behaviour.

Cassarick Fri 15-Feb-13 16:15:03

flora - "he could move to a retirement community". You are assuming that people in that community would be happy - why should they be any happier than you are?

EldritchCleavage Fri 15-Feb-13 15:34:37

I don't think you could get a civil injunction on the basis of his criminal conviction alone, flora. I think you'd only get one if he indulged in some worrying behaviour after release.

izzyizin Fri 15-Feb-13 15:12:05

He will not be released until he is judged to not be a danger to anyone

This is incorrect, ItsAll. This man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison and, providing he does not blot his copybook while he's a guest of Her Maj, he will be released in little more than a year and earlier if any time he may have spent remanded in custody is required to be taken into account.

On release he'll be free to live where he wishes and there's nothing you, or any other members of your community, can do about this, Flora. Indeed, if you were to be seen fomenting bad feeling about him returning to his home, you may find yourself on the wrong end of the law.

It may be he'll elect to move elsewhere but, in the absence of any 'for sale' signs being erected on his property, you're best advised to content yourself with 'better the paedophile you know than the one you don't'.

There is an old adage in urban areas about never being more than x metres away from a rat but, as it's probable that the distance between you and a human member of the genus rattus is considerably less, this man is not the only paedophile who lived/lives in your locality and the ones who haven't been identified should be of more concern to you that one who is known to the police.

There's some saying about

LilyontheLeaf Fri 15-Feb-13 15:10:45

Hi Flora,

Firstly I am very sorry for the situation you and your family find yourselves in. What a horrible shock.

This man will be released from prison after serving half of his sentence. He will then spend the rest of his sentence on "licence" and be supervised by the Probation Service.

There was an excellent programme on the BBC iplayer a couple of weeks ago about the Probation Service and their management of sex offenders - look it up.

His behaviour will then be monitored in one of two ways:
1) Through conditions on his licence - which may well be not to approach children / linger near parks etc

2) Through something called a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. This would have been given to him at his sentencing and is, in effect, an ASBO for sex offenders. It means that if they do certain things (like access the internet, for example) they are liable to arrest and punishment.

I would start by contacting Victim Support. They may be able to assist you in finding out whether a SOPO was imposed at sentencing. You can also express your concerns to your local probation service, although of course, they will only become involved in release.

In reality, unless he has abused a child in the neighbourhood, he will be allowed to return to the house if he wishes to. The PP are correct to say that he is actually less of a risk to you - as you will keep your children far from him.

You and your neighbours should be very careful to engage in any vigilante type behaviour - harassment is a criminal offence, no matter how odious the victim.

Hope that helps a bit.

delilahlilah Fri 15-Feb-13 15:03:38

LyingWitch and Eve are speaking a lot of sense. You have the advantage here, knowledge is power. He may not come back as he will be aware that everyone knows what he has done. If he does, then you will be aware and can take steps to keep your children safe. The police and probation services will be watching him. Hounding is a bad thing for many reasons, not least of which is that should he move, then people near him will be unaware and at a disadvantage. Also, he may succeed on concealing himself from the police and probation people if he goes into hiding.
I do think there need to be better plans in place for these people, but it is a very complicated issue.
Realistically Flora, your children are safer after his release than they were before his arrest, if you see what I mean.

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