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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Failings in toddler rape bid case
James Campbell
Campbell had already tried to rape a pensioner and was on licence
An inquiry has identified "systemic weaknesses" in the handling of a sex offender who tried to rape a two-year-old on release from jail.

James Campbell abducted the toddler from her Coatbridge home two months after his release on licence.

At the time he was under supervision by North Lanarkshire Council.

It said in response to the investigation ordered by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson that it would "tighten up its procedures".

Campbell snatched the two-year-old from her home in the middle of the night while armed with a knife.

The 19-year-old was given a life sentence on 21 October last year for the attack.

At the High Court in Glasgow, temporary judge Alistair Stewart QC told him that he must serve a minimum of 10 years before possible consideration for parole.

Sex offenders may be small in number but they rightly generate considerable public concern
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister

He had been living in a social work hostel after being released early from a three-year jail term imposed after attempting to rape a 90-year-old woman in her home in Cumbernauld.

In its report, the Social Work Inspection Agency said Campbell sought to mislead people into believing that he was going straight.

However, it said: "In our opinion the weaknesses in managing this case occurred across all of the agencies and at all stages through the prison sentence and back to the community. They were wholly systemic in nature."

It said North Lanarkshire Council failed to give sufficient priority to the case and did not ensure Campbell undertook addiction treatment - one of the key conditions for his release from prison.

Council spokesman Gavin Whitefield said: "We've taken steps to implement a number of actions already and we'll continue that process in conjunction with all the other agencies."

Legal guidance

The report said the Scottish Prison Service did not provide the sex offender with access to rehabilitation while serving his original sentence.

There was a lengthy delay in interviewing him on his arrival at prison and it took six months to appoint a new prison social worker after his original one left.

It also found that there was "poor communication" between Strathclyde Police and social work staff involved in Campbell's risk assessment.

Gavin Whitefield
Gavin Whitefield: Council is tightening procedures

Ms Jamieson has told all council, prison and police bodies to ensure that sex offenders undergo comprehensive risk assessments.

The minister said agencies must pay attention to the report's findings.

She said: "Sex offenders may be small in number but they rightly generate considerable public concern.

"As today's report makes clear we cannot completely eliminate the risk they pose."

Strathclyde Police said Campbell's post-release risk assessment was still under way when he attacked the child.

However, a spokesman added: "Following this incident, Strathclyde Police and North Lanarkshire Council have commenced a review or our joint review procedures for the assessment of sex offenders."

Attempted child rape man jailed
21 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Man admits attempted child rape
23 Sep 04 |  Scotland

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