Life jail for sex killer who was thought safe by probation staff service

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The Independent Online

A judge severely criticised the prison and probation services yesterday for being duped into thinking a sex offender who tortured a waitress to death after being released from jail was a "model" inmate and posed no risk to the public.

Paul Beart, 26, is now starting a life sentence for a savage sexual attack on Deborah O'Sullivan, who was mutilated and left for dead.

Mrs Justice Hallett told Bristol Crown Court that she was astonished Beart had "fooled" the experts who ran a sex offender programme into believing he had overcome his compulsion for violent sex.

Beart, originally from Boston in Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to murdering Miss O'Sullivan, 31, from Manchester, as she walked home along a footpath in Newquay, Cornwall, on 29 April last year.

Beart had previously served five years for the serious indecent assault of a family friend in 1997. After being released from prison, where he was treated on a sex offenders' programme, he was moved to Boston to work in a factory and was placed under parole supervision with a probation worker. He was treated as high-risk but the police were not informed when he failed to turn up for an appointment seven days before the killing.

The court was told four psychiatrists later concluded that Beart suffered from a sexual sadism that did not respond to psychiatric intervention and that he posed a considerable risk to the public.

Beart also attacked two girls from Newquay, aged 17 and 18, shortly before killing Miss O'Sullivan. In sentencing Beart to life imprisonment, Mrs Justice Hallett said: "I am astonished that you could have fooled the people who treated you on the sex offenders' programme into believing that you were a model prisoner."

The court was told Beart had gone to Newquay on 23 April planning to commit a sex attack. He subjected his victim to an hour-long assault in which he burnt her, battered her and left her for dead.

Philip Mott QC, for the prosecution, said: "There came a time when he told her, 'You know I am going to kill you now' and she simply nodded her head." She died three days later without regaining consciousness. Not long after the attack, Beart gave himself up to police and said he deserved the death penalty.

After the hearing, Gareth Howard-Davies, of the National Probation Service, said: "During his time in prison extensive assessment was undertaken to judge the levels of risk. That was done conscientiously ... everything that could reasonably have been done was done."