HIGH profile sex offender Craig Meehan has been moved out of Huddersfield after protests by residents.
The 23-year-old had been living quietly in a council house in Almondbury.
But he was recognised by locals who campaigned against having Meehan – Karen Matthews’ former partner – in a neighbourhood which has five schools within a mile.
The 23-year-old had been living with Matthews in Dewsbury Moor, when Matthews’ nine-year-old daughter, Shannon, vanished in February last year.
After she was found safe and well in the home of Meehan’s uncle, Michael Donovan, Meehan was charged with unrelated child pornography offences.
Just over a year ago, Meehan was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail after being found guilty of viewing 49 indecent images of children, but left court a free man after serving 166 days on remand.
Donovan and Karen Matthews are serving eight year jail terms for kidnapping Shannon in a bid to claim reward cash from newspapers.
Meehan remains under police protection. Parents raised concerns with the Examiner when he was recognised in Almondbury.
He had been living quietly and police were monitoring the situation but had no apparent concerns about his behaviour.
However after the residents' campaign, Meehan has now moved from Almondbury and is believed to be elsewhere in West Yorkshire.
Almondbury mum Shelley Askworth, 35, said: “This man in our village was convicted of holding indecent images of children. Would anyone be happy about having a neighbour like that?
“I have spoken with many parents who are all disgusted he has been housed here. This area is full of children with five schools and two parks. How can this possibly be a good place to re-house him?”
Another Almondbury mum, Jayne Wilson, 39, added: “We are decent law-abiding residents who believe we have a right to voice our opinion that we have a genuine concern about child safety. We live in a namby-pamby state where political correctness has gone too far.”
West Yorkshire Police said they were unable to comment on individual cases, but a spokesman said: “We would like to reassure people that all those on the sex offenders register are closely monitored by specialist police officers and other partner agencies.
“Police, probation, health and housing authorities continue to share information relating to individuals assessed to present a risk by holding regular public protection meetings and taking agreed action.
“We ask that the public respects our expertise and experience in this area and allow us to assess, monitor and manage the individual and any risk posed.
“We would encourage anyone with any concerns or issues about individuals in their community to speak with their local Neighbourhood Policing Team.”
We were aware of Meehan's presence in our community and of the concerns of the local residents. We monitored the situation but came to the decision that publishing the fact would not have been the actions of a responsible local newspaper.
It would have put Meehan's rehabilitation at risk and, much more importantly, would have raised the prospect of less responsible members of the public – from anywhere in Kirklees – taking the law into their own hands.