Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Child rapists housed close to Belfast schools and nurseries - probation service under fire

 

By Ciaran Barnes, Sunday Life

Two child rapists are living in adjacent flats in a quiet corner of Belfast - sparking panic among parents.

Leo Hoad (40) and David Page (46) are holed up in the same apartment block in south Belfast, just yards away from a nursery and two primary schools.

Furious locals contacted Sunday Life after seeing them out and about together, casually shopping in a local supermarket.

One said: “We understand sex offenders have to be put somewhere, but it’s madness to put them in the middle of a residential area surrounded by schools.

“Both of them were convicted of raping children. There has to be more suitable places.

“At least if they were in some sort of bail hostel we know they would be monitored. Having them in flats with no probation staff about is asking for trouble.”

Because Hoad and Page are child rapists and the subjects of Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO), they must stay indoors for a period in the morning and afternoon when kids are going to and leaving school.

But they are free to come and go as they please at any other time of day, and are often seen out and about together.

Page has also been spotted attending sex offender group therapy meetings in the area. His pal Hoad, originally of Enniskillen, has a girlfriend and is now  a father.

Our source added: “Everyone wants them out of this area. As parents, we are at our wits’ end. People are afraid to let their kids out to play knowing they are knocking about.”

A spokeswoman for the Probation Service said: “Stable accommodation is a significant factor in preventing re-offending and reducing the risk offenders present.

“Offenders live in the community unless prevented from doing so by conditions imposed by the court or as part of licence conditions.

“They are subject to multi-agency monitoring. If there are specific concerns about an individual these should be passed to the police.”

Hoad is considered one of Northern Ireland’s most dangerous paedophiles, having admitted 11 charges of rape and two indecent assaults against two children. He was 13 when he started an eight-year sex assault campaign against his victims, who were aged just seven and eight.

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

In 2016 he was jailed again for breaching the terms of his early release, but freed a second time the following year.

David Page, originally from Lurgan, has been abusing kids for more than 25 years, with his first conviction occurring in 1991.

In 1997 the paedophile was sentenced to seven years behind bars for child rape. His most recent court appearance was in 2014, when he was caged for three years for pouncing on a six-year-old girl as she walked to a friend’s home. Page took her into his house and sexually abused her.

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