Paedophile jailed for 40 years not fit to be at large again, say children's charities

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The Independent Online

They are concerned that despite a lifetime history of raping young children, Robert Excell, 67, will be released into the community after signing the sex offenders' register.

Excell was born in Britain and has spent 37 years of the past 39 years in prison in Australia, where he has lived since the age of 10. He was released on the grounds of ill-health from a Perth jail and deported because he never took Australian citizenship. The Australian authorities say he now represents a "low to moderate" risk.

Excell was first jailed in 1965 for raping a seven-year-old boy, but was released on parole in 1973. While on parole he raped a nine-year-old boy and was returned to jail. In 1977, he was again given parole and was again found guilty of rape - this time of a 13-year-old boy. The Australian prison authorities decided to grant Excell parole again in 1981, but soon brought him back to prison after he was found guilty of indecent behaviour with a boy under 14. They vowed never to release him.

Western Australia's Attorney General, Jim McGinty, last month decided that Excell would not be allowed to live in the state once he was released. "He will be released solely for the purposes of deportation and he will be taken straight from prison to the airport to be deported to Britain," Mr McGinty said.

He arrived at Heathrow airport yesterday morning and may also be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. This could ban him from being alone with children or from being within a certain distance of a playground and applies to offenders convicted of sexual offences overseas and who pose a risk of serious sexual harm in Britain.

He will also be monitored under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements by a team made up of police, probation officers and others including medics and social workers.

But the NSPCC last night warned that children would not be protected unless more resources were devoted to monitoring the movements of sex offenders.

Phillip Noyes, NSPCC director of public policy, said: "Close supervision means the police and probation services can move in if an offender approaches children again. They can act early to prevent a yet more heinous crime being committed against another child. No child should be left without this blanket of protection."

Children's charities in Britain are worried that Excell could reoffend. A spokeswoman for the children's charity Kidscape said: "It is a concern for us that he could reoffend - he has already demonstrated a huge pattern of reoffending. We see it as a 'loose cannon' situation and would be happier if there was some form of monitoring of him, but as far as we know he will just be placed on the sex offenders' register."

Norman Brennon of the Victims of Crime Trust said Excell was a "predatory paedophile" who was "every parent's nightmare".

He added: "One has to ask why is a man who is still deemed to be so dangerous that the Australian authorities don't want him to walk their streets now at liberty to walk ours with limited monitoring?"

Margaret Dillon, executive director of children's services at NCH, formerly the National Children's Home, said: "As an organisation which offers therapeutic support to the survivors of abuse perpetrated by child sex offenders, children's charity NCH wants to be reassured that all appropriate steps are taken to safeguard children in the light of the arrival of this individual in the UK and his history of reoffending when back in the community."