September 1998

Paedophile wins right to High Court freedom bid

A PAEDOPHILE, who caused a public outcry when he escaped during a supervised visit to a children’s theme park, is fighting a legal battle to be allowed to leave the secure hospital where he is being held.

Trevor Holland, who is described by police and doctors as violent, abusive and “a risk to society,” yesterday won a High Court challenge against the legality of a decision by a mental health tribunal to keep him in hospital.

Holland won a new hearing after his lawyers submitted there was a loophole in the law and that, because he is untreatable, his detention in hospital is unlawful.

North Thames Mental Health Review Tribunal yesterday conceded that there had been “an inadequacy of reasons” in its decision last January to deny Holland his freedom and agreed to a new hearing.

Originally from Lancashire, Holland caused a public outcry two years ago after escaping from custody while on an escorted visit to Chessington World of Adventures, a children’s theme park in Surrey, as part of an attempt at rehabilitation.

The paedophile is at present detained at the Eric Shepherd secure unit, run by the Horizon NHS Trust at Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, after absconding from Harperbury Hospital near St Albans.

He had been sent to the hospital in 1996 in terms of the Mental Health Act after being convicted of an affray at a public house in Oxford just a few weeks after his release from jail.

He had served less than half of a three-year sentence imposed for gross indecency with a child.

Holland, 54, who has used other names over the years, has a long history of offending and doctors have warned he continues to pose a risk to children.

His record includes 11 offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, as well as offences in 1992 and 1994 of indecency and attempting to procure an act of gross indecency.

A 1985 conviction related to an assault on a 14-year-old boy who resisted his advances.

One of the doctors responsible for Holland told the tribunal that if he did not receive any form of treatment, it was possible his criminal activities “may become more serious in future.”

The tribunal had concluded Holland was “treatable” because he had given indications that he had “an intellectual and emotional grasp” of the issues in his case which, “with an element of self-scrutiny, could lead to change.”

However, Mr Justice Forbes indicated that he had found the tribunal’s reasoning “opaque” and suggested it might like to reconsider its position.

He welcomed the rehearing and described the case as raising “a very interesting and difficult matter.”

Crimes of Holland

He was sent to a psychiatric hospital in 1992 after being convicted at Oxford Crown Court of exposing himself to a boy and his friends at Bicester sports centre. After being freed, he sent obscene letters to the boy after finding out his address from court papers.

In November 1994, he was jailed for three years for gross indecency and sending obscene material through the post. He was caught trying to entice two 13-year-olds into a deserted car park at Bracknell, Berkshire. His record also includes 11 offences of assault causing actual bodily harm. A 1985 conviction related to an assault on a 14-year-old boy who resisted his advances.

August 1996

I’m like a rat waiting for a chance to pounce

WHEN Trevor Holland was jailed in November 1994 for approaching children in search of sexual favours, the judge’s prophetic words should have put penal and medical authorities on their guard.

Sending him away for three years, Mr Justice Blofeld said: `I leave this case with a feeling of anxiety for the public because it seems to me that you need watching with great care.’

Holland, whose sex offending started in 1986, admitted sending two `disgusting’ letters to a boy of 15 and making obscene suggestions to a boy and girl, both aged 13.

`Medical treatment has been tried but does not seem to have done any good,’ added the judge. `Prison has been tried, but doesn’t stop you from committing these offences. However, while you are in prison you are out of circulation.

No other form seems to stop you.’

While inside, Holland wrote to a boy victim. `I’m like a rat in a corner waiting to pounce,’ he warned. `I have it all planned out. My next move.

It will be worth ten years in any dump.’

In another letter, Holland threatened to organise a gang-rape of the boy’s mother.

The paedophile had originally obtained the boy’s name by a trick, after a court case.

Though the boy was not named, Holland asked for a copy of his witness statement – which carried the details.

It was the start of a nightmare for his family, bombarded with horrific threats from both Holland, who has a string of convictions for violence, and his circle of paedophile friends.

The letters were augmented by threatening phone calls after Holland was released from jail in December 1995. Then, in April, he was sent to a secure hospital for attacking a pub landlord and a police officer in Oxford.

The cloud of fear lifted from his victim’s family – until yesterday.