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Fury as child rapist was allowed to live beside six Belfast schools

By Ciaran Barnes

Published 14/11/2016

Leo Hoad
Leo Hoad
Thompson House on the Antrim Road, Belfast

A serial child rapist is now back behind bars for allegedly breaching the conditions of his early release licence.

But questions are being asked, not only about the decision to free Leo Hoad, but also why he was put in a Belfast hostel a short distance from six schools and youth clubs.

Sunday Life has learned that until his arrest in July, the Fermanagh-born paedophile was living at Thompson House on the Antrim Road.

The complex, nicknamed ‘Pervert’s Paradise’, has previously housed child sex killers like Ronnie Graham and John Clifford.

It had a £2million extension added to it in 2012, increasing fears that more perverts would be moved in.

After frightened locals staged protests at its doors, they claim to have struck a verbal deal with its Presbyterian Church owners that dangerous sex offenders would not stay at the hostel.

But that agreement is now in tatters with the revelation that Leo Hoad was housed there during the summer, and was arrested at the complex on suspicion of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo).

One long-term Antrim Road resident told Sunday Life: “The demonstrations were called off after we were assured that no dangerous sex offenders would stay at Thompson House.

“People will be shocked that a child rapist like Leo Hoad was living at the hostel because it is surrounded by schools. The fact that he was arrested for breaching his release licence proves that he is still dangerous.”

There are 84 CCTV cameras monitoring Thompson House, and sex offenders are confined to the building until 9.30am, and between 2pm and 4pm, when schools are opening and closing.

But that did not stop Leo Hoad being taken into custody by police on July 18 amid claims he had breached a Sopo.

The 38-year-old appeared via video-link at Belfast Magistrates’ Court last Thursday for an update on the

case.

A Presbyterian Church spokesman said that admissions to Thompson House are made by the Probation Board after a thorough risk assessment process.

He added: “The safety of the local community is paramount and part of the regime at Thompson House.

“That regime is based on the risk assessment and is robustly monitored by staff and by the designated risk manager, which is the advantage of having approved accommodation that is monitored, totally accountable and open to external inspection.”

Leo Hoad is considered one of Northern Ireland’s most dangerous paedophiles, having admitted 11 charges of rape and two indecent assaults against two children.

The pervert was aged 13 when he started an eight-year sex assault campaign against his victims, who were aged just seven and eight when the abuse began.

In 2012 Hoad, who is on the sex offenders’ register for life, was sentenced to seven years in prison and a further three years’ probation for his sickening crimes.

He had been living in Thompson House for only a matter of weeks before being arrested for allegedly breaching the terms of his early release.

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