Freed sex offenders 'raped again'

More than 400 sex offenders set free in the last three years went on to commit rape, Ministry of Justice figures have revealed. Last year almost one in seven convicted rapists had a previous conviction for a sex crime, the highest level for five years.

The Conservative MP, Priti Patel, said the figures showed that dangerous criminals were being let off the hook and allowed to "reoffend over and over again". She added: "The priority for the Government must be to ensure these prolific offenders are locked up to keep the public safe." The statistics showed that 3,263 rapists had been convicted by the courts in the past three years. Of those, 409 had previous convictions for sex offences, including 90 who had previously been convicted of rape.

A total of 767 – or one in four – had a criminal record for a violent crime other than rape and 1,785 – more than half – had previous convictions for crimes that were not violent or sexual in nature. A spokesman for the charity, Rape Crisis, which provides support to victims, said: "What these figures demonstrate is that rapists are serial offenders ."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Public protection is our priority and we are determined to have the best possible systems in place to supervise offenders in the community. Those who commit such abhorrent crimes will be returned to prison and face a lengthy sentence."