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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK


Second paedophile for prison flat

Nottingham Prison is housing two notorious released paedophiles

Child sex killer Robert Oliver has become the second released paedophile to be housed in a special flat inside Nottingham Prison.

Oliver, a member of an East London paedophile gang which killed 14-year-old Jason Swift, was released in September 1997 after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence.

He will join fellow paedophile Lennie Smith at the controversial new unit.

It was set up to house sex offenders who have served their term, but are deemed to remain a threat to society.

On his release and following widespread publicity, Oliver, an associate of Smith, was hounded out of five towns where he tried to settle.

At one point, he was in voluntary police custody for his own protection before being moved to Blenheim House medium secure unit in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

Experts were concerned that he could be forced underground which would mean he could not be supervised and would be more of a risk to the public.

Tenancy agreements

Nottingham Prison is expected to take only two to three residents, all of whom will have to sign unique tenancy agreements.

These offer them the protection of accommodation within prison walls and free gas and electricity in return for the loss of certain rights.

[ image: Robert Oliver was hounded from place to place following his release]
Robert Oliver was hounded from place to place following his release
For example, they will be kept under observation and will only be able to leave the jail between 9.30am and 9pm.

They will have to tell prison staff in advance and say where they are going and when they will be back.

Visitors will have to be cleared by the jail and no children or sex offenders will be allowed to see them.

Mobile phones and the Internet will be banned, along with alcohol and drugs, but they will be alllowed access to normal phones, although calls will be monitored.

Residents will only be allowed to keep pets if the prison governor agrees.

And he or she will be able to evict residents within 24 hours if they pose a threat to security or discipline in the prison.

However, the two residents, who will live next door to each other, can associate with each other and share a garden area.

Maggie Bucknall, from the Committee Against Paedophile Accommodation, which has been campaigning vigorously against the unit, said: "The worrying thing is that the two of them can associate with each other.

"They could be sitting there discussing goodness knows what and the authorities haven't got a clue.

But the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro) said the only other solution would be solitary confinement which could "create its own problems".

"The residents have to consent to being there. If the conditions are too onerous they could discharge themselves," said a spokesman.

Nacro believes the Nottingham flats are only a short-term solution.

It wants the government to set up a range of small secure units, ranging for very high security to low security, which would offer therapeutic treatment to offenders deemed a risk to the public.

Local opposition

The decision to use the prison for the unit also prompted a series of demonstrations in Nottingham earlier this year. Three rooftop protesters brought the issue to national attention in June.

Residents in the Sherwood area of the city also objected, and some parents withdrew their children from nearby schools.

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