Paedophile to be tagged

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The Independent Online
In the first case of its kind, a convicted paedophile has volunteered to be electronically tagged after telling police he would attack another child.

The case is doubly unusual because child-rapist Graham Seddon, 43, is not serving a sentence, or on bail or licence and so is no longer subject to criminal justice agencies.

Seddon served six years of a nine-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Manchester in 1990. He was arrested earlier this year in the Merseyside area with a bag containing sweets and a colouring book.

Initially he was sent to a psychiatric clinic in Huyton, Merseyside, but the authorities had no power to detain him because his condition is deemed untreatable. He can likewise opt to discontinue the monitoring at any time because he is no longer under sentence.

Seddon, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, is already under continuous voluntary watch in a hostel, and escorted whenever he leaves the building. The electronic tag will monitor his presence at or absence from the hostel.

The move was welcomed by the People's Power group of Huyton parents angered by Seddon's release from the clinic into the community.

But there were also doubts about the experiment. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: "The case sets a worrying precedent because it involves someone accepting a punishment without due process. It is also difficult to see how this is going to significantly improve the protection of children beyond what is already in place."

George Barrow, for the Association of Chief Officers of Probation, said that it was the right action in the circumstances but the case highlighted the need for statutory extended supervision.