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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"Where can convicted paedophiles safely live?"
 real 28k

The BBC's Stephen Cape reports
"The investigation is still in its early stages"
 real 28k

Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 16:38 GMT
Witness plea after paedophile killing

Police collecting forensic evidence at the scene Police collecting forensic evidence at the scene

Police hunting gunmen who shot a convicted paedophile in east London have urged witnesses to disregard his criminal past and come forward.

Bill Malcolm, 44, jailed for sex attacks on children, was gunned down at his flat in Forest Gate at about 2130 GMT on Wednesday night.

But many in the local community have expressed relief at his murder, and police are wary that some witnesses may not contact police because of sympathy for the killers.

Builder Roy Mahadoo said it was for the best that Mr Malcolm was dead.

The dead man is believed to be Bill Malcolm Bill Malcolm: Several sex attack convictions
"I have got a little girl of three myself," he said. "I am quite happy that people like him are out of this community. I can understand quite clearly why someone would want to have him out of the way."

Sam Okai, who owns a nearby telephone shop, said: "I do not think it is right for anyone to take anyone's life but he was a child abuser and he should have been kept away from children."

He said he understood that those who "felt they were haunted by him" would feel relieved that he was no longer a neighbour.

But Detective Chief Inspector David Shipperlee, who is heading the investigation, said: "This man's background is almost immaterial.

"A man has been killed here. We need to find the people responsible for that."

He appealed for witnesses who may have seen two men, aged in their 30s, 5ft 10ins in height and dressed in dark clothing, running or walking away from the scene, to come forward.

He said Mr Malcolm was believed to have died from a single gunshot to the head but it was too early to speculate whether a contract killer - linked to his criminal past - was responsible.

Police are also thought to be investigating whether Mr Malcolm had been the subject of recent death threats.

The incident happened in the Forest Gate area The incident happened in the Forest Gate area
But the BBC's Stephen Cape said: "Police sources accept it may have been a contract killing - someone who may have objected to the past lifestyle of a man whom neighbours describe as a loner and someone who kept to himself."

Mr Malcolm walked free from the Old Bailey six years ago when a judge decided "with considerable regret" that 13 charges, including rape, indecent assault and cruelty, could not be heard because of a legal technicality.

Two months earlier, a psychiatric report stated: "Malcolm has paedophile tendencies of a strongly sadistic nature. In the past he would have been diagnosed as a `sexual psychopath'."

He was first jailed in 1981 for unlawful intercourse with an eight-year-old girl and buggery of a nine-year-old boy.

In 1984 he was jailed again for attempted intercourse and abuse of the same girl.

Anyone with any information should ring 0171 321 9640 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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