June 1998

He’s too near his victims’

A sex offender who was forced out of his Bradford home by campaigning residents has been moved just a mile and a half away from his victims.

Stephen Hall, 41, was given two years’ probation by Bradford magistrates after pleading guilty to gross indecency against three children under the age of 14.

The Council has started eviction proceedings against Hall and has admitted moving him “to the surrounding area”.

Relatives of his victims and residents in his street were appalled at the sentence and launched a campaign to get Hall re-housed. But it has emerged Hall has moved from his home in Rokeby Gardens, Greengates, to an address in Undercliffe with his wife Pat.

One resident in Rokeby Gardens said: “I am frightened. He is still in the area.

“What was the point of moving him when he’s just down the road. He should have been moved out of the district.

“There could be more repercussions now and the last thing we want is trouble.”

The father of one of Hall’s victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I’m astonished by this. The Council has not done its job right. He should have been moved well away”

Hall, who has now been placed on the national sex offenders register, was given the two year probation order by magistrates on June 18 – with a condition to spend 20 sessions at the Bradford Child Sexual Abuse Perpetrators Project.

Bradford North MP Terry Rooney has written to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, in an effort to get Hall sent to jail. He wants Lord Irvine to review the case. Mr Rooney believes sex offenders should be given a minimum sentence of ten years.

Councillor Jim O’Neill, deputy chairman of housing and chairman of housing services, has been instrumental in getting Hall re-housed.

But when contacted by the Telegraph & Argus to be informed of Hall’s whereabouts, Coun O’Neill admitted he was surprised.

“Now that I know I will contact officers,” he said. “I want this man well away.

“The problem is we need court dates to get him evicted from his house. But the system is slow.

“He is a tenant of the Council until we can kick him out. But I am surprised and shocked that he is so close.”

A spokesman for Bradford Council’s Housing and Environmental Protection Directorate said: “We Moved Mr Hall as an emergency, temporary measure last week and he will be moved out of the surrounding area as soon as possible. However, there is a limit to how far away we can place him as we do not have properties outside the district.

“We have taken the first steps to repossess his home, but this could take several weeks.”