March 2005

NOTORIOUS PAEDOPHILE DIES AT 72

A NOTORIOUS paedophile forced out of scores of homes by angry neighbours across Dumfries and Galloway has died.

George “Catweazle” Belmonte died in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, where it is understood he was battling cancer, on Wednesday, aged 72.

He was on the sex offenders’ register, had been convicted of a string of sex attacks dating back to the 1950s and was most recently jailed in 2003 after being found guilty of inviting a seven-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl into rushes at Glencaple, near Dumfries.

Belmonte, easily recognisable with his long grey hair and beard, had tried to settle in Southern Scotland in 1999 after being released from jail for abducting a teenage girl.

But he was forced to flee a number of homes, including one at Middlebie, near Annan, after neighbours discovered his identity.

June 2000 – Paedophile found in forest

A convicted paedophile has been found, three days after disappearing in the Dumfriesshire hills.

George Belmonte was reported missing on Monday from a remote estate near Eskdalemuir.

The 68-year-old was given sanctuary there after being hounded out of a succession of towns and villages across Dumfries and Galloway.

A major search was launched but he turned up on Thursday in Ettrick Forest.

Police said Belmonte had been walking and became disoriented and lost.

Belmonte has a record of sex offences against children and has been a long-term problem for the authorities in Dumfries and Galloway.

He has been allocated a succession of homes across the region but has been hounded out of each of them by angry locals.

A few weeks ago it was revealed that he had moved to the remote Pengrain Estate at the invitation of its owner, Dr Colin Betts.

The estate is about two hours’ walk from the village but parents of local children expressed concern about the man’s presence in the area.

However, writing to local newspapers last week, Dr Betts called for people to grant Belmonte “peace and understanding”.

He went into hiding in April after a caravan he was reported to be living in was overturned on the outskirts of Creetown in Galloway.

The incident came just days after Belmonte arrived in the area. He was transferred from Lockerbie, where there was a public outcry about his presence.