The escape of Trevor Holland from an outing to Chessington World of Adventures - a leading children's attraction - had sparked outrage among Government and Opposition MPs. The Shadow Prisons Minister, George Howarth, described the escape as "unbelievable". Police had responded to reports of sightings of him all over the country. Holland was recaptured after being spotted by a member of the public on Marine Parade, Worthing.
Richard Tracey, the Conservative MP for Chessington, said that the decision of the Horizon Health Trust, to allow Trevor Holland to visit the park was "absolutely barmy".
He added: "I am appalled and amazed that a responsible health authority can take a convicted paedophile to one of the country's leading children's attractions." Holland, who once wrote to one of his victims describing himself as "a rat in a corner waiting to pounce", slipped away from a male nurse at Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey, on Thursday.
As indignation grew over the decision to take him to a children's theme park as part of his therapy, police said they were delighted over the positive public response to news of the escape.
Holland, 52, has previous convictions for gross indecency with children and for assault. In 1994, a judge jailed him with the words: "I leave this case with a feeling of anxiety for the public. It seems to me that you need watching with great care."
Tom Freeman, chief executive of the Horizon Trust, said Holland was being treated at the Eric Shepherd Unit in Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, where it it was considered that the outing would be beneficial to his treatment.
Mr Freeman said an inquiry would be held into Holland's escape, but added: "There was a careful and thorough assessment of risk and it was judged by staff that it would be safe."