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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.

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 22:51:46

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 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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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