Residents launch campaign to drive out paedophile

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The Independent Online
MORE than 100 angry residents of Milton Keynes were expected to start a campaign last night for the convicted paedophile Robert Oliver to be moved out of their area.

They say they are incensed that Oliver, jailed for the killing of 14- year-old Jason Swift, is having treatment at the medium secure unit Blenheim House, after being hounded out of several towns.

Thames Valley Police confirmed yesterday that Oliver was at Blenheim House clinic. "The police and other agencies in Milton Keynes want to reassure the residents and re-emphasise appropriate supervision is being given to Mr Oliver and he does not present any danger to the public." said a spokesman.

But residents claim that the clinic has betrayed them by taking Oliver, who is there voluntarily. They say when the unit was set up only people detained under the Mental Health Act were to be treated there.

"In my personal view they are putting money before the welfare of the citizens of Milton Keynes," said Steve Coventry, a local councillor.

Oliver had served eight years of a 15-year sentence after being convicted of the manslaughter of Jason, who was throttled and gang raped in a flat in east London. Since being released from Wandsworth Prison in September last year and registering on the national paedophile register, Oliver has been hounded out of Swindon, London, Dublin, Liverpool and Manchester. He cut his hair and wore glasses, but when he arrived in Brighton, social services sent warning letters to the parents of 27,000 children in the town.

As a result he ended up in the police cell for four months for his own protection, but Sussex Police estimated that it cost the public pounds 50,000 - pounds 400 per day - to keep him under lock and key. Sex offender treatment centres refused to take him but Blenheim House, a new centre agreed.

"He can walk out whenever he likes," said Roy Copeland, who has helped organise the meeting. "It's right next to a hospital. In two or three minutes he can get to schools and nurseries if he chooses to do so. We want to protect the children of Milton Keynes. It's not a question of passing the buck ... we want the law changed, so there are tougher sentences and they are kept in more secure places."

But Ray Wyre, a therapist who has worked for many years with sex offenders warned: "Whatever we do to work with sex offenders people don't want us there. There is a major misunderstanding. Robert Oliver could live in a bedsit in Milton Keynes if he wanted and no one could do anything. He is not subject to statutory supervision."

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