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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 14:47 GMT
Australia deports UK paedophile
Raymond Horne
Horne, seen with his head covered, does not have Australian citizenship

A serial paedophile has arrived in the UK after being deported from Australia at the end of a 12-year jail term.

Raymond Horne, who was met by police at Heathrow on arrival, reportedly moved from the UK to Queensland in 1952 aged five and started offending in the 60s.

Queensland authorities said they were "well rid" of Horne who would have needed close supervision had he stayed.

Information about Horne, 61, will be passed to police wherever he settles in the UK, the Home Office said.

Charities in the UK and Australia have said Horne should be treated as a major risk to children.

If he had stayed ... we would have regarded him as someone we would have wanted to watch for the next 15 years under very close supervision
Judy Spence, police and corrective services minister

Judy Spence, minister for police and corrective services in Queensland, told the BBC Horne had been "in and out" of the prison system since 1965.

She said: "He has a long criminal history which include convictions for assault, driving offences, drug offences and, of course, sexual offences.

"He is a paedophile. His last offence... he was convicted of indecent dealing against a boy under 14 years of age.

"If he had stayed in Queensland, we would have regarded him as someone we would have wanted to watch for the next 15 years under very close supervision."

'Maximum danger'

In the UK, Horne will be obliged to sign the sex offenders' register, which means he will have to report to the authorities. Breaching the register carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases but that it considered Horne eligible for a sexual offences prevention order.

The order can apply to offenders convicted of sexual or violent offences overseas who pose a risk of serious sexual harm in the UK.

It can prohibit offenders from being alone with children or from being within a certain distance of a playground, for example.

They [the authorities] can say to him 'We think you're an absolute risk - but we have to wait now until you do something'
Shy Keenan, Phoenix Chief Advocates

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We think he would be eligible but it is up to the police and the courts.

"Where it is known that a sex offender convicted in another country is to be deported to the UK, he is met at the port of entry by the police, who interview him and pass any relevant information to the police in the area to which the offender is proposing to live."

Hetty Johnston, from the Brisbane-based charity Bravehearts, told BBC News that Horne had been "sex offending against young boys for half his life" and should never have been released.

She said the Australian authorities could have detained Horne after his release date because of the risk of him reoffending but that had not been sanctioned and it was "cheaper" to send him back.

British charity the NSPCC said the authorities should make an immediate assessment of the threat Horne posed and take action to protect children.

"The Australian authorities believe there is a strong possibility he could re-offend therefore we believe he should still be considered a maximum danger to children," said a statement.

International register

Shy Keenan, of UK-based child abuse victims' campaign group Phoenix Survivors, added that Horne would be "more dangerous" in Britain because he has no support network here.

She said: "They [the authorities] can say to him, 'We think you're an absolute risk - but we have to wait now until you do something before we can do something'.

"He will probably be placed in a hostel - an ordinary hostel, not an offenders' hostel."

Calling for the creation of an international sex offenders' register, Ms Keenan estimated that, for every child sex offender whose return to the UK was reported in the media, there were another 50 who received no publicity.

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