A PAEDOPHILE abused a boy while on bail for 23 crimes involving indecent images – despite being monitored by the authorities, The News can reveal.
Concerns have been raised as to how registered sex offender John Atkinson was able to engage in sexual activity with a child while subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
Despite the steps designed to reduce the risk Atkinson posed, he committed the crime against the boy at his then home in Chedworth Crescent, Paulsgrove, Portsmouth.
The boy, who was aged under 16 when he was abused between June and October last year, cannot be named for legal reasons.
Jon Brown, the NSPCC’s head of sexual abuse, described the case as ‘deeply concerning.’ He added: ‘All serious sex offenders must always be considered a risk and thorough assessment and treatment should always be carried out to prevent further abuse. All those involved in sentencing such cases need appropriate training so that bail decisions are victim centred and aimed at preventing further abuse.
‘We also need to remember the victim in this case who has had to suffer terrible abuse and may well need support and therapy to help overcome this incident.’
Atkinson, who under MAPPA was being monitored locally by offender managers, was arrested and charged with sexual activity with a child, which he admitted. He also admitted 20 counts of making indecent photographs of children and two counts of possessing indecent photographs of children – for which he was on bail when the latest incident happened.
A 12-strong jury at Portsmouth Crown Court found Atkinson not guilty of two other charges of raping another boy, also aged under 16, at the 47-year-old’s home between June and October last year in a unanimous verdict. He is remanded in custody awaiting sentence for the 23 other offences.
Meanwhile the jury unanimously cleared Brian Austin, 52, who lived with Atkinson, of two counts of raping a boy aged under 16 following their joint trial. The men no longer live at the property.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Lecointe, head of public protection, said Hampshire police could not comment specifically on the management of individual registered sex offenders: ‘We invest significant resources into the protection of the public and the management of offenders, including registered sex offenders, is a priority and a duty we take very seriously,’ he said.
‘We work closely with our partners through MAPPA which bring together agencies including police, probation, local authorities and housing associations to actively manage and monitor offenders.
‘Each registered sex offender is managed by a local team of police offender managers who work to reduce the risk the subject poses and increase public safety. If a registered sex offender is charged with a serious offence, we will conduct a review into the circumstances of the case to establish where we can learn and improve our service in protecting the public.’ COMMENT n PAGE 8