Mother-of-three worried about child sex offender neighbour

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:09 19/07/2013

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A Blenheim mother is worried she will have to keep her three young children inside after discovering she lives next door to a convicted child sex offender.

The woman moved to Blenheim from Christchurch in December last year with her two daughters, aged 8 and 2, and her 5-year-old son.

The 29-year-old woman cannot afford to moveagain, but is unsure about what to do after finding out her neighbour had been to prison on a raft of child sex offences.

"I felt pissed off when I found out," she said.

"There's nothing to tell me or anyone else where people like that live."

She and her family moved from Christchurch after the rent on their home was set to go up $120 a week.

A family friend told her two weeks ago about her next-door neighbour.

After some research online, she discovered the man had been found guilty of sexual violation and three charges of indecently assaulting young girls.

His victims were aged 9, 11 and 14 in the late 1990s when the offending took place.

He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2005 but an appeal by the Crown the following year increased the sentence to five years and six months.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust database says the man's offending was a serious breach of trust, premeditation and grooming.

"I let my kids run around outside in summer, playing in the pool naked," the woman said.

"I feel quite sick now.

"Was he standing there watching them?"

She had trusted the man enough to ask him to feed her cats when she visited friends in Christchurch, she said.

She doesn't know what to do.

A police officer told her there was nothing police could do and she should just keep her children safe and away from the man.

Housing New Zealand, who placed the man in his home, said there wasn't much they could do either, while Child Youth and Family, Marlborough Citizens Advice Bureau and the Department of Corrections also offered little advice.

Kaikoura MP Colin King was also unable to help her.

"Everywhere I went, it was ‘sorry, I can't help you, be safe'," she said. "We live in an offender-friendly country. I don't think there's enough information on what to do when you live next to somebody like this."

She had to dig around to find out what sort of an offender her neighbour was and was worried other people would have no idea if they lived next door to a child sex offender.

"I know he's served his time and all that, but if they were your kids, how would you feel?" she said. "It makes me quite anxious to let my girls run around outside now.

"We just don't know about these people in our community."

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PROPOSED REGISTER APPLAUDED

Police Minister Anne Tolley said in May she would soon be taking a paper to the Cabinet on the establishment of a sex offenders register in New Zealand.

 

When New Zealand deports sex offenders to Australia or Britain, those countries enter them automatically on sex offender registers, meaning conditions such as supervision or mandatory reporting can be imposed.

Ms Tolley is proposing a similar register, which would be viewed only by officials with security clearance and not the public.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar told Fairfax last year it was "fantastic". The lobby group had been calling for a register for years.

"It protects the public. It is the best tool which encourages offenders to change their ways."

The trust already had a sex offenders and violent offenders database on its website.

"We get phenomenal feedback from the public on those."

Mr McVicar said the trust was very careful about who it put on its database. "You don't want to ever get something wrong."

 

- The Marlborough Express

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