Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 16:31 UK

The dangerous men 'freed to kill'

By Paul Burnell
File on 4

Convicted rapist Michael Clark was classed in the highest category of dangerous offenders.

But at the end of his sentence, the authorities were obliged to find him accommodation in the community.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark was classed as high risk

Originally from Scunthorpe he claimed to have connections in Leeds, and he was housed in Compton Row, in the city's Harehills district.

Neighbours found him "creepy" and "weird" and their intuition was accurate but the residents of Compton Row did not know that he was a convicted rapist with a history of violence.

Former senior probation officer Daniel Grant told File on 4, "He for me was an offender that would always require very close supervision."

Clark had been assessed to be high risk by the system in which dangerous offenders are usually managed, MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements).

Yet, less than a year after his release, he murdered the teenage daughter of some Polish neighbours he had pretended to befriend. Armed with two knives, he sexually assaulted and murdered 14-year-old Zuzanna Zommer. She was found with her throat cut and her skull fractured.

Secret report

Jailing him last October - this time for life - Mr Justice King told Clark: "Your attack was particularly brutal and frenzied".

The judge described him as a "dangerous sexual predator" so why, given his previous convictions, had the public not been adequately protected?

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File on 4 has found that there was a serious case review of Clark's case (in the months after he murdered Zuzanna Zommer) by the strategic board overseeing the MAPPA Process, but no details have been made public.

The Ministry of Justice says a report is being finalised but there is no date for publication.

Lead councillor for housing in Leeds, Les Carter said legally the authority had to find him somewhere to live, but he is unhappy that the inquiries into Clark's case have not been made public.

"There should be an onus on people who produce the reports to keep as little as possible confidential.

"We have to know what went wrong, how it went wrong. We've got to learn lessons.

"I don't ever want to see a case like this 14-year-old girl whose family had only been here a few months. It's tragic," he told File on 4.

Mr Grant added: "These are matters about public protection and the public ought to be made aware of the the detail of what's actually gone wrong in cases like this."

'Police errors'

Other similar cases have contributed to wider concerns about the risk posed by known dangerous offenders.


I don't want their kindness and sympathy, I wanted them [the police] to do their job

Joan Wilson

Joan Wilson was left mourning a daughter she described as her best friend.

Donna Wilson was 30 years old when she was murdered in Burton-on-Trent by an ex-boyfriend who had became her stalker.

Unknown to the Wilsons, Shaun Clarke was a convicted killer who had previously served 16 years for murdering his ex-partner and had been freed on licence under probation service supervision.

Clarke should have been re-arrested for breaching the terms of his licence after Donna reported an attack he made on her at her home, just a week before she was murdered.

Her family discovered a list of errors by the authorities which left Clarke free to beat and stab Donna to death in January 2007.

These included failing to visit the scene of the assault and only making one effort to trace Clarke when, according to Staffordshire Police's policy on domestic violence, the case should have had urgent attention.

Disciplinary action

The lack of urgency was compounded when an officer checking the police National Computer misspelt Clarke's name and inputted the wrong date of birth - the correct details would have revealed his murder conviction.

To make matters worse, police thought he was a petty criminal with the same name. Disciplinary action was eventually taken against two junior officers.

The force's acting chief constable sent a written apology to the family admitting its failings. But Mrs Wilson was unimpressed. "Sorry is an easy word. You say sorry if you bump into somebody.

"I don't want their kindness and sympathy, I wanted them to do their job," she said.

Staffordshire Police said the force completed a wide ranging review of its public protection role earlier this year, "resulting in a number of significant improvements".



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SEE ALSO
Killer rapist must serve 35 years
09 May 08 |  West Yorkshire
Police investigated after deaths
02 Feb 07 |  Staffordshire
Woman reported killer to police
24 Jan 07 |  Staffordshire

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