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Friday, January 13, 2006 

Sun-watch: stalking and invading the privacy of a not so-ordinary lottery winner.

Not many people will feel sorry for Iorworth Hoare, a convicted rapist who won the national lottery while behind bars. He has not paid any of the £7 million he won to his victims, nor has he shown any remorse. What this man is now having to put up with though is a stalking campaign by the Sun newspaper, which last year revealed that he was costing taxpayers £10,000 a month because of the need to keep him under surveillance and to house him. That was in the public interest. Today's story is not.

Today the Sun has splashed on the front page exactly where he lives, and how close he is in proxomity to Newcastle striker Alan Shearer. This house is not being funded by taxpayers however, as he paid £700,000 out of his lottery winnings for it. He was released from prison on strict conditions under a life licence, and undoubtedly the local police, employers and schools will have been made aware of where he is now living. It all very quickly becomes clear why the Sun is so interested though:

And one worried resident said last night: “Families felt safe here. But not any more.”

Ah, a worried resident. Often when a tabloid newspaper talks about someone worried or a witness to a celebrity, they happen to be of the journalist's own imagination. This is almost that:

The Sun’s Scottish editon editor Rob Dalton, a 44-year-old father of five, also lives on the estate. He said:

This is terrifying news. This has always been an estate where people felt safe. It’s the sort of place where children can walk the streets in safety.

People will be horrified to discover that Hoare’s here. He’s most certainly not welcome. It is a particular concern that he’s now living so close to those developments.

And there is also a primary school 200 yards away.

And so it all becomes clear. Intrude on a Sun editor's patch, and you're liable to have your house splashed on the front page of the country's biggest selling newspaper.

But wait! There's more:

Hoare’s new neighbours will be disturbed to learn that one night last week he prowled for 25 minutes around the darkened streets in a vain search for an open shop.

Holy moly - what sort of person walks around looking for a shop? Certainly one who isn't rehabilitated.

When I posted about the first Sun story last September, the main problem was that someone who was contained in the community was having to be moved at more taxpayers expense thanks to the Sun's thoughtful expose. This time, no taxpayers money is involved. As the BBC story at the time makes clear, Hoare would be being dealt with by the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement. He is now no longer living in supervised accomodation. He will be having to keep the police informed of his movements, as well as still meeting probation officers. The Sun has this time invaded the privacy of a man who has served his debt to society through prison. I agree with them that he should have been forced to pay at least some of his winnings either to his victims or to applicable charities, but there is no law forcing this, and Hoare decided not to. Whether a charity would have accepted his money is also doubtful.

Hoare will now probably have to move again, as he made the mistake of moving in too close to the editor of the Scottish Sun. Once again a tabloid newspaper has invaded the privacy of someone which is not in the public interest, and once again, they will get away it.

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