Australia halts Briton's deportation over prison rape claims

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The Independent Online

A British-born serial paedophile's deportation from Australia has been postponed while police investigate new allegations that he committed rape while in prison, officials and a lawyer said today.

A British-born serial paedophile's deportation from Australia has been postponed while police investigate new allegations that he committed rape while in prison, officials and a lawyer said today.

Robert Excell, 66, will remain behind bars for at least another three months, said Western Australia state's Attorney General Jim McGinty.

Yesterday, the attorney general had said Excell would be released from prison within days and deported on the first available flight to London.

However, "the Parole Board has today advised that Robert Excell will not be released from prison on parole until July 1, 2005 because of the possibility of investigations by the Department of Justice and the WA Police", McGinty said in a statement.

State police Sgt Graham Clifford said a complaint had been made to police yesterday, and that detectives were investigating.

Clifford declined to give details. However, the lawyer who lodged the complaint, John Hammond, said his client claimed he was raped by Excell in a prison in the state capital, Perth, in 1992 and 1998.

Hammond said his client, whom he did not name, alleged he was an 18-year-old inmate the first time and that the second time, three other prisoners held him down while Excell raped him.

"He (the client) reported it after the first incident but he believes he just wasn't taken seriously," Hammond said.

"We've been to the attorney general and asked that Excell not be deported, and the Parole Board has today agreed that he will stay in Perth," he added.

Excell has spent 37 of the past 39 years in the state's prisons for convictions dating back to 1965, when he raped a seven-year-old boy.

Since then, he has been paroled three times and has committed new offences each time.

Police in Britain, as well as a British child protection agency and a paedophile monitoring group, have expressed serious concerns over Excell's possible return, news reports said.

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