August 2010

Father David Taylor is living near two schools

A CATHOLIC priest jailed for child abuse is living yards away from two schools and a nursery after being released from prison.

Father David Taylor, 59, youth chaplain for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in the early Eighties, admitted indecently assaulting three boys, aged from 12 to 15, at Durham Crown Court last year.

The assaults happened in Seaham, County Durham, and on Holy Island, Northumberland.

Taylor was jailed for twoand- a-half years, but has been released after serving half of his sentence. He is on the sex offenders’ register for life.

One of his victims, Mark Dixon, 38, a former County Durham policeman, told The Northern Echo last month that he could kill the priest for the abuse he suffered at his hands.

Now, people near his home in Bedlington, Northumberland, are furious he is living so close to children.

Meadowdale County Middle School, St Benet Biscop Catholic High School, Bedlington Bears nursery and a playing field are five minutes’ walk from Taylor’s house.

One neighbour, a mother of children aged three and one, said: “I can’t believe he has been allowed to live back here.

“There are a lot of young children in this street and, during term-time, there are always kids walking back and forth to the schools.

“I don’t let my children play outside the garden anyway, but now I will be keeping them even closer.

“It is really scary that someone like that is so close.

We want him to be moved.”

A man, whose partner has two toddlers, said: “I know he has got to live somewhere, but anyone with kids will tell you they would rather he lived behind a 10ft wall and a locked gate.

“It was a long time ago and maybe he has changed, but you can’t be sure of that.”

A police spokesman said the former priest was subject to multi-agency public protection arrangements used to monitor the location and behaviour of all convicted sex offenders.

He said: “All sex offenders in the community have rights to a private life, albeit while being managed and monitored by Public Protection officers.

“However, the public is also entitled to protection from any potential risk posed by offenders in the community.

The Public Protection arrangements work to minimise the risk posed by each individual offender and to protect the public.”