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Saturday, October 01, 2005 

"Scandal" over lottery rapist.

Tabloid hysteria has been building for a while over the case of the unfortunately named Iorworth Hoare, who purchased a winning lottery ticket while he was on day release from prison, serving a sentence for attempted rape. He also had previous convictions for sex crimes. He won 7 million pounds. As soon as news of this came to light, there were predictable calls for him to not receive the money, and less unfair calls for him to donate at least part of it to charity, a move which would have been a gesture to show he was ashamed of his crimes and had repented. As far as I'm aware no donation was made. He should be forced to donate some, at least compensating his victims if they were not.

The Sun, favourite newspaper of this blog, managed to finally gain a scoop yesterday when it published details of where the man is now living having been released, as well as the revelation that apparently the cost of keeping him under surveillance and housing him is costing £10,000 a month. In addition they printed photos of his house and of the man himself walking around in the town centre.

That it is costing the taxpayer £10,000 a month to house him is undoubtedly in the public interest. What is not in the public interest is publishing photographs of his house or revealing where he lives to the country as a whole. The man has now already been moved following the Sun's story, using taxpayers money, such as my own. Thanks Rebekah Wade, I appreciate it. As this BBC story shows, Hoare would have visited by probation officers regularly, monitored and local schools and employers would have been made aware. In short, he was happily being contained in the community. Thanks to the Sun, this has all been put under threat.

Iorworth Hoare should be paying for the protection and services which he receiving, especially seeing as it is rumoured he is making £30,000 a month just in interest on his winnings. Once again though the Sun has gone beyond the realm of responsible journalism, not only putting a man who has served his time, whatever crimes he has committed in danger, but also costing the public more money thanks to the unnecessary intervention. They could have simply published the story saying that he was costing the public £10,000 a month without revealing where he lived. They chose not to.

Also worthy of criticism is "Women in Need" director Clare Philipson, who said she was delighted the Hoare's identity had been revealed. Perhaps she should take into consideration the recent panic in Northampton, with police warning that there were a gang of African rapists who had abducted and attempted to rape at least two young women. It now turns out that one of the women has been charged with wasting police time, and another is likely to be. Not only did these women waste police time, they worried thousands of women, who as a result were extra vigilant, scared or stayed home, and no doubt also stoked racial tension.

Clare Philipson also said that "Too often the criminal justice system protects the offenders and I do not believe that is what the public wants." Thanks for telling us what the public wants Clare. If we believed everyone who said they know what the public wants, then the News of the World would still be printing the photographs of alleged paedophiles on its front page, as it did under the editorship of Rebekah Wade, which led to a paediatrician being savagely beaten in a case of mistaken identity. Presumably Clare also wants all rapists to be castrated or hung up by the bollocks. Rape is a horrific crime which can lead to victims wishing they had actually been murdered. The conviction and reporting rate in this country is appalling, and needs to be drastically improved. Many offenders are without doubt getting away with it. However, those who are convicted need to rebuild their lives once they have paid the punishment for their crime, and revealing their identities and where they live in a national newspaper is not the way to go about doing that.

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