Newry sex offenders moved after newspaper exposé
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Two sex offenders living close to Our Lady’s Grammar School in Newry have been moved after a newspaper exposé.
The Sunday Life newspaper ran an article in its latest edition about two foreign nationals who have convictions for rape and sex attacks.
The Sunday Life article stated, “A rapist and his sex attacker pal are shacked up together in a Newry house just yards from the gates of a top girl’s grammar school.”
The article continued, “Parents of pupils there have no idea that living just yards away from its gates are two sex offenders who the police consider so dangerous that they subjected them to court orders.”
According to the Sunday Life, both men were given a five year Sexual Offences Prevention Order after a recent appearance at Newry Courthouse. The two men, who are originally from Latvia, were pictured in the exposé.
As a result of the article Our Lady’s Grammar School sent out a letter (pictured right) to worried parents to reassure them of the safety of their children.
This however, did little to ease the fears of local parents, who took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their fury at the revelations.
One worried mother, who lives close by and wishes to remain anonymous, told Newry Times that after the article appeared in the Sunday Life Our Lady’s School sent home letters.
The mother of two spoke of her anger after reading the newspaper report. “We felt angered how they can come into a bail hostel with a community full of kids, teenagers etc. We are quite angry as a community that nobody was aware of theses sex offenders living beside us.
She also spoke of her fears for her own two children and questioned whether it was safe to let them play outside. “I have 2 kids with special needs and these men are in our street on a daily basis. Is it even safe to let the kids play in the front garden?”
And the worried mother also questioned the policy regarding housing people in bail houses in the community. “Who knows who will come into the bail house next?
“I think when people like this come into an area we should be made aware. There is a number of bail houses in Newry, they will move from that house to another so people need to be made aware,” she added.
And in response to queries from concerned parents Councillor Charlie Casey says he has arranged a meeting with the PSNI, CRJ and representatives from the Greater Linenhall Community Association.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, which will take place on Thursday 28th November, Councillor Casey told Newry Times, “People are naturally worried for the safety of themselves and their children.
“The PSNI have confirmed that the two men have been removed from that particular house but they cannot confirm where they are now living.
He added, “I would appeal for people to be calm in this situation. Thursday’s private meeting will give the community the opportunity to raise concerns with the police and have their queries answered.”
Local SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley described the revelations as ‘deeply concerning’.
He told Newry Times, “The prospect of registered sex offenders living in close proximity to a school is deeply concerning and I have been contacted by parents and residents living in the area.
“I have spoken to the PSNI locally and understand that those named in the media who were living at the address are no longer at that address.
“I have raised the concerns of the local community with the agencies involved , particularly the PSNI and will continue to work on behalf of the community in the area who have raised this issue with me,” he added.
Newry Times spoke to the local PSNI who said that arrangements for registered sex offenders living in the community fall under the control of PPANI.
A spokesman stated, “Since 2001, there has been a well-defined system in place in Northern Ireland for assessing and managing the risk posed by sex offenders.
“Formerly known as the Multi-Agency Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management (MASRAM) arrangements, the process has subsequently become known as the public protection arrangements.
“Public protection arrangements are understood as co-operation between police, probation and social services focused almost exclusively on the assessment and management of risk posed by offenders in the community. Risk management is both complex and dynamic.
“For each offender it involves the preparation of a plan to address the specific risks identified in relation to the individual whilst they are in the community. Risk management plans will include actions to monitor the behaviour and attitudes of the offender and, when necessary, intervene in the individual’s life in order to minimise the risk of serious harm to others.
The spokseman added, “These arrangements apply to convicted offenders. Police would encourage any member of the public with concerns regarding any aspect of public safety to contact them directly.”
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