A HUDDERSFIELD dad is calling for a change in the law after discovering he lives next door to one of the country’s worst perverts.
Michael Raybould was sentenced last week after police discovered more than 300,000 pornographic images of children at his Kirkheaton home.
Next door neighbours Iain and Rachel James had no idea their two children lived so close to the sex offender.
“It’s been two years since he was charged but we knew nothing about it until we read about the trial in the Examiner a few weeks ago,” said Mr James.
Raybould, 58, was spared jail on Friday despite amassing a collection of 315,531 pornographic images of children.
He admitted at Leeds Crown Court that he had one of the largest ever collections of child pornography, including videos of girls with adults.
The James’ had no idea they and their children, aged eight and 12, were living next door to a man branded a “pathetic pervert” by a judge.
Now they want authorities to look at changing Sarah’s Law, which allows families to be given information about sex offenders.
Mr James, 43, said: “It’s worrying that the police didn’t call us and put us in the picture, given that we have a young family.
He added he and his wife had become more vigilant since reading about Raybould’s trial in the Examiner.
“We feel a little scared to let the children play out. We don’t want to supervise them all the time in their own garden but we feel like we have to.
“We’ve had to explain the situation to them, we’ve had to give them a lot more information than we would want to so as they know to stay away from him.”
Mr James fears his children’s friends may not come round to play any more.
“No-one has said anything, but there have been a couple of their friends who haven’t come round in the last few weeks,” he said.
“I understand it. We would do the same.”
He feels there may have to be changes to Sarah’s Law – which allows parents to check if people with access to their children have been convicted of sex offences.
He said: “I can understand the police’s point of view, that someone has rights until they’re convicted.
“I just feel in this case maybe they should have come round to put us in the picture so we could protect our children.
“Sarah’s Law didn’t come into play because he wasn’t on the sex register.
“For the last two years we’ve been unaware that we were living next to a known – but unconvicted – sex offender.
“That’s a big hole in the system. Maybe the information should be made available when someone is charged, rather than when they’re convicted.”
Mr and Mrs James, 42, have lived on St Peter’s Crescent in Kirkheaton since 1996.
“It’s a nice, quiet area of families and older people,” said Mr James.
“He was there before we moved in, he may have lived here for 30 years.
“He was a bit odd and reclusive. He didn’t really speak much, he used to just grunt, but sometimes you would get the occasional ‘hello’.
“He has five or six cats that just breed and breed. They try to get into our house because they’re starving.”
Raybould was given a 26-week sentence suspended for two years on Friday. He was ordered to attend a sex offenders’ programme with a supervision requirement, also for two years, and was made to sign the sex offenders’ register
Mr James believes the punishment was too light.
“If feels like we’re suffering the sentence while he’s pretty much got away with it,” he said.
SO what is Sarah’s Law?
It was introduced after a big campaign following the horrific abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, pictured, in Sussex in 2000.
Her killer was Roy Whiting – a man who had already been convicted of abducting and sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl.
The campaign demanded that controlled access to the Sex Offenders’ Register be given to families with children.
Four pilot schemes were introduced in September, 2008, and last August, the Home Office confirmed it would be extended to the whole of the UK from 2011.
Ironically Roy Whiting, 52, who is serving life in Wakefield Prison, was attacked by another inmate last Friday.
He was treated in hospital for facial injuries.