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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.

CailinDana Fri 15-Feb-13 12:36:52

If it were me, I would hound him out of the area and leaflet any area that he moved to in order to warn people. I know that's a terrible thing to do, and I'm not proud of it, but I would do it.

Probably not helpful sorry.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 15-Feb-13 12:44:02

He will not be released until he is judged to not be a danger to anyone. I am sure he will be closely monitored on release too. I would also guess, that given the nature of his crimes he would be rehoused somewhere new where people don't know him, for his own protection.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 15-Feb-13 12:47:07

He's a threat to your children only if you let him be. Your children are young and you can shield them from him. You don't need to take this out of context - yes, he's a risk. You can make sure everybody knows that he's a risk but they probably know anyway and I expect the police have a policy in place to keep residents safe.

I wouldn't do what the poster above has suggested but I would get together with other parents (that I knew and trusted not to be abusers also) and set up an informal arrangement whereby we watch for each other's children when they're out.

Please don't live in fear of this man, he has no powers of access to your children. Ask the police for advice, your local station is probably being briefed and is geared up to having this man back in the community so will be able to advise you.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 12:51:16

Thanks for response. Things like that have been said by parents living around here - 'well, if he comes back we'll do XYZ to him and MAKE him leave...'

Obviously, emotions were/are running high - but ultimately just planning to persecute him should he return doesn't do much to allay people's fears at the moment.

It does, however, illustrate an important point - everyone on our street knows he is a pedophile: the press even gave his exact address when the story came out. Surely, the authorities would think that in order to minimise the risk of violence against him, it would make sense for him to go elsewhere?

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 12:55:21

I hope you're right itsallgoingtobefine.

LyingWitch - unfortunately, I would live in fear if he were to return. I think that is understandable. He could point a long lens camera into my child's bedroom if he wanted to - perhaps he already has, but that doesn't bear thinking about.

The police may have a plan but other than keeping him under house arrest (which of course they can't do), they won't be able to watch him constantly.

I am aware that such risks exist to children everywhere but it's the fact that we know - we want to do something to prevent it.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:08

It's understandable that you all feel up in arms over his return but that doesn't help you, any of you.

Persecution is not a good thing, he's been dealt with by the courts and the police must have a strategy in place to manage his return - if he's going to. You could ask, as a group, what that strategy is and how will the police help to manage the risk. It's also up to us as parents to do that.

Hysteria and gung-ho attacking serves no purpose whatsoever. Anybody who is violent to him will justifiably find themselves on the wrong side of the law. I'd get some advice from my local police and look at the ways I could make myself and my family feel more secure and safe.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:13

ps - it'sallgoingtofine - do you know that for a fact about release? Surely a sentence is a sentence, he'll get out once he serves the term whatever?

atacareercrossroads Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:56

What cailin said with bells on.

A paedophile used to live next door to me when I was younger. The parents did exactly this and he soon fucked off

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 15-Feb-13 12:59:33

I don't know for sure no, someone legal would know.

EldritchCleavage Fri 15-Feb-13 12:59:51

I would go and see your local police about it. I imagine they'd be reasonably sympathetic, and they should be able to explain at least in general terms what the law has the power to do and not do in relation to this man. Once you know that, then if he is released you can lobby police/CPS for those steps to be taken.

Not minimising this horrible situation, but now you do know what he is, and knowledge is power.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 15-Feb-13 13:01:11

flora.... Really??? Shut the curtains. shock

I understand where you're coming from, I really do. I've spent more time in case conferences than I ever wanted to and I know how the gut disgust battles with commonsense but you can't live like that.

If you say you're going to live in fear then move. If you can't force this man out (and you can't) then you'll need to take the initiative.

Please do try to keep a grip on commonsense though for your childrens' sake. You could have any number of unidentified paedophiles in your neighbourhood. You just know about this one. Have you thought of that?

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:03:33

I know that, LyingWitch - that's why I'm on here asking for advice. I want to know if there is anything we can do to prevent him returning to our road, where there are dozens of young children. We are within walking distance of several schools also. There are lots of places in the UK where there are not such high numbers of vulnerable children: it would obviously be better if he resided in such a place and not in an area so highly populated by families.

I know what you are saying makes sense but would YOU be ok with him living opposite you, whatever 'strategy' the police might have in place? I doubt it.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:06:09

Lying - yes, I have thought about that - as I said in my original post:

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.

It's that fact that we know that makes it so difficult.

LtEveDallas Fri 15-Feb-13 13:14:39

Flora, you are less at risk from this man than from anyone else.

If he is released and returns to his former home he will we watched, he will be on a register, the police will know where he is and he may even remain under licence.

You cannot force someone out of their home, and neither should you. I understand your feelings, but justice has been served and you do NOT want to put your children at risk by breaking the law yourself.

You say that everyone knows him - that is a GOOD thing, you will be able to see him if he goes somewhere he shouldn't. You can make your concerns known to the police and he will be picked up.

Your children, everyone's children will be safer if you KNOW where he is.

Oh and you say Three doors down from this man's house, a woman works as a childminder in her house and how do you know that she isn't a paedophile? She may have just never been caught, never been convicted. How do your friends know that YOU aren't 'taking photos of their children through their bedroom windows'? You are in more danger from those you DON'T know that those you do.

There is as much evil in this world as there is good. You are lucky - you KNOW where the evil is in your street - I don't.

Pilgit Fri 15-Feb-13 13:19:39

Generally speaking he will serve his sentence and be released. I believe he will only be kept in prison if provision was made at sentencing or he has misbehaved in prison. also worth noting most sentences are not fully served - someone in fir 3 years may be parolled after 18 months for good behaviour - again this will be a provision in the sentence. if he had already taken images of your children I believe you would have been informed (may be wrong there). This is a truly horrid way to view it but your children may be safe from him as he will know he will be easily identified should anything happen. Talk to the police about what happens on release. Knowledge is power. He may also (being optimistic) have obtained counselling and be battling his demons - in which case he may choose to move where there are fewer children or if he doesn't persecuting him may be counterproductive. However I cannot imagine how I would react in your situation and may well be out there with my pitchfork upon his return

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 15-Feb-13 13:21:25

flora... I'd feel as disoriented and sickened as you. No, I woudn't like him living near me, of course not. I'd feel exactly as you do and angry too. I couldn't live being whipped up in hysteria though. That isn't in anybody's best interests.

The fact that you know gives you power as you said. You can control what happens to your children and this man will have no access to them. He sees them in the street, so what? He can't touch them or speak to them because you'll see to it that he can't. He really has no power at all.

I'm sorry if my posts come across that I'm not sympathetic, I really am - absolutely on your site. I just don't find hand-patting much help so am more inclined towards cold hard logic... but I would feel the same way you do, honestly. smile

LulaPalooza Fri 15-Feb-13 13:24:52

flora, get in touch with your local Community Safety Partnership in the first instance for information about how cases like this are managed. It might reassure you. Contact details here

I agree with those who have said don't take vigilante action and who have pointed out that at least you know about this man and can respond accordingly.

CailinDana Fri 15-Feb-13 13:25:49

IMO a man who sets out to rape a 2 year old is beyond help and needs to be kept in a psychiatric facility until death.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:43:15

Thanks for responses so far.

I'm fully aware that it in some ways it could be viewed as safer to KNOW where he is, and protect children accordingly.

But, also KNOWING that a man who fully intended to rape a 2 year old lives directly opposite you is a horrible position to be in. Most of us don't live our lives worrying about what COULD happen - it's the old 'you could be hit by a bus tomorrow' argument, as is the 'well, you don't know the childminder might be a pedophile too' argument. But if this man returns, I will be constantly worrying.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:47:07

I am not a lawyer, obviously, but surely we there must be something we can do?

SolidGoldBrass Fri 15-Feb-13 13:48:58

Right now he's in prison so in no way a danger to you. Your local community police will be able to advise you about protecting your DC generally. I think you need to take a few deep breaths: your children are as safe as you can make them and getting into a panic helps no one. He is in prison.

flora123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:57:12

Thanks solid gold. I do know he's not a danger to us right now, which is great. But what I do want to do is take steps, if I can, to prevent him coming back. The community police might be able to reassure parents that he is being monitored - but I'm afraid that wouldn't be enough to make us feel safe.

What I need to know is, is there is anything that we can legally do? If we need to start contacting lawyers etc I would like to get on with it now, for everybody's sake. I think there would be far more risk of hysteria etc if everyone buries their heads in the sand praying he doesn't come back/dies, and then he creeps back in less than 3 years because he's got time off for 'good behaviour' or is supposedly rehabilitated.

frustratedworkingmum Fri 15-Feb-13 13:58:29

"convicted of paedophilia and imprisoned for 3 years" Now THIS is what is wrong here - this man should never be let out of prison. It doesn't matter that he may not ever DO anything again, i wouldnt want him to even so much as look at my children. I don't think the OP is being hysterical she is asking what she can do, i wouldnt WANT this man living near me and he gave up his rights the minute he commited vile crimes against children.

I would say OP to go and talk to your local police/mp and see what can be done, if there are alot of children in the area they may well not see fit to release him there, but the thought of him being released ANYWHERE makes my blood boil.

LtEveDallas Fri 15-Feb-13 14:02:44

but surely we there must be something we can do?

No, I really don't think there is. He will have served his time, no matter how awful he is, justice will have been done and he is allowed to live out the rest of his life wherever he wishes. Especially if it is his own house.

My MIL lives in a certain area that had what originally was a childrens care home close by - it is within walking distance of 2 local primary schools and one secondary school. In approx 2005 the care home was turned into a 'half way house' type affair for ex cons. This included known paedophiles - they were assigned their own coordinators. The community were up in arms, the home was a target of vandals a number of times and an arsonist once - BEFORE anyone even moved in. There were marches, vigils, petitions and violence.

Nothing changed. Ex cons have been living there for 6 years now, all that happened was that the locals who tried to mete out their own justice now have criminal records of their own.

Local kids know to keep away from the home and to avoid people they don't know. Local tradespeople are now employing some of these guys.

I'm happy to be proved wrong - I'm not a solicitor and have no legal training, but no, AFAIK, there is nothing you can do.

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