January 2010

PAEDO ALERT: Child rapist flees Weymouth

CONVICTED CHILD rapist David Payne fled Weymouth as the Echo tracked him down to his town centre hideaway.

Payne grabbed his belongings and ran from his Great George Street flat as anger mounted about him being allowed to move to the resort.

The 64-year-old former children’s entertainer, who was jailed for 12 years for a string of sex offences on girls as young as four, refused to speak to the Dorset Echo as he ran to a waiting car.

Neighbours said they were horrified to learn they had been living next door to a convicted paedophile.

Worried parents launched a campaign to force father-of-two Payne out of town after it was reported that he is deemed such a danger he is banned from going near beaches.

Families spoke of their fears for their children and of Weymouth’s image as a family resort.

Payne, originally from Burton, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, was released from prison early in spring 2008.

It is understood he first came to Dorset soon after he was let out of jail and was placed in a Bournemouth hostel.

Payne, who is on the sex offenders’ register, is being managed by police and probation services and it is understood there are restrictions on his movements.

Up until yesterday Payne was among more than 460 sex offenders living in Dorset.

Residents of Great George Street said they were shocked by the revelation that Payne was living in their midst.

Dad of two Rob McDonald, aged 41, of Great George Street said: “It’s outrageous that he was living here.

“No-one had a clue that someone like that was here. We should have been told.

“I’ve got kids myself and it’s shocking to think a man like that was living in our street.

Student Jack Lonergan, aged 16, who was visiting family members in the street, said: “It may be that he poses no threat but I think that Weymouth is the wrong place for him.

“I mean, there’s children walking around half naked on the beach in the summer. Families feel safe here.”

A woman who lives next door to Payne’s flat who didn’t want to be named said: “I not aware of any kids who live in the street, there’s a lot of bedsits around here.

“But it still doesn’t seem the right place for a man like that. If it’s true he’s not allowed near beaches this is totally inappropriate.”

Another neighbour said: “Most people keep themselves to themselves round here so you wouldn’t know who was living next door to you. As a parent I’m really shocked. I had no idea.”

Grandmother Gloria Doherty, aged 62, who lives round the corner from the flat, said: “It’s beyond belief.

“Not only is he a danger to children but this could ruin the economy of our town which is reliant on tourism.

“My grandchildren are due to come down at half-term but I don’t think I’d feel comfortable having them here with this man around.

“If it was up to me I’d put him in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic.”

Portland dad Brent Stone, aged 37, said “I would be tempted to say something to him if I saw him in the street.

“He should leave town for his own safety.”

Dian Broadley used to live in Weymouth and is now considering a move back to the resort to launch a new business.

She said: “With all the stories I’ve read about drunks and druggies, and now this, I am seriously considering whether to come back at all. I’m absolutely horrified.”

A Dorset Police spokes-man said: “Public safety is always our priority. David Payne is on the sex offenders register and is subject to Multi-Agency Public Protec-tion Arrangements (MAPPA).

“Led by the Police, Prob-ation and Prison Services, these arrangements are a proven way to manage offenders and complex cases through multi-agency co-operation.

“Information is shared between agencies, disclosed to other parties where relevant and risk assessments and action plans are agreed.”

The Probation Service said Payne had been adequately risk-assessed and monitored and had not breached any conditions.

A spokesman said Payne may have been banned from going near beaches in the past but ‘this was no longer an issue’.

The spokesman said: “Public protection is our first priority and we have robust mechanisms to manage sex offenders effectively if they are living in the community.

“Sex offenders who are released from prison on licence will be monitored and supervised by the Probation Service in the community and can be recalled to custody if they breach their licence conditions.

“Through MAPPA, agencies strive to minimise the risk posed by offenders through continuous assessment and management.”