Tell Us Where Sex Fiends Live
THE parents of a woman murdered by a serial predator out on parole are campaigning
for neighbourhood registers of high-risk sex offenders.
Karen and Geoffrey Lewis, whose daughter Nina was murdered by her neighbour, want
a meeting with State Police and Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence.
They are urging the public to write to politicians demanding the right to be told
of serious violent and sexual offenders living in their midst.
"The detectives told us 34 known sex offenders were living within a kilometre of
Nina's house," Mrs Lewis said.
"That's horrific. She was a sitting target. That's why this neighbourhood registry
should come into play."
Paul Anthony Vaughan,
30, who this month was jailed for life, had been released in
May 2002 after serving two years of a five-year sentence for kidnapping and
attempting to rape a teenage girl. Prison authorities opposed his release, but
a community board approved his parole.
Ms Lewis, 26, lived next door to Vaughan in an Ipswich street for
years – including three months on her own – without knowing of his crimes.
"Nina would have been out of there in a shot if she'd known," Mrs
Eight weeks before Nina was murdered in August 2004, her pet labrador
was poisoned and her parents now wonder whether Vaughan was responsible.
Since Vaughan's sentencing, the Lewises say there has been a groundswell
of indignation over sex offenders being released without anyone knowing.
"I have had so many people say, 'If there's a petition let
us have it'," Mrs Lewis said.
The couple say they are prepared to start petitions and speak publicly.
Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group chief executive Neville
Coventry said there had to be a way to alert communities when criminals
at high risk of reoffending were released into their areas.
Di Macleod, of the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence, supported
the Lewis campaign.
"Sex offenders appear to be the biggest recidivists. They are going to
reoffend – it's just a matter of when," she said.
Ms Spence said she was happy to meet Mr and Mrs Lewis, but notification
of offenders' whereabouts in the community was not being considered.
Sunday Mail (26-11-2006)