July 2010

Paedophile released from jail on licence

TWISTED Cub Scout leader David Hopkins, who was jailed for a 30-year-reign of sex abuse against young boys, has been released from prison.

Hopkins, 72, served just six and a half years of his ten-year stretch.

It is understood he is in halfway-house accommodation near Maidstone, where he was jailed by Judge David Croft at the town’s crown court in 2003.

The pervert was released from Maidstone jail more than four months ago, when he had served two-thirds of his sentence.

He was caged for abusing boys in his care at the 3rd Hawkinge Scout Group in the 1970s and 1980s, although it was clear his offending went back to the 1960s.

Hopkins kept a meticulous record of his child abuse in ledgers and took thousands of photographs of his sick activities.

Much of the abuse – aimed at children from vulnerable single-parent or particularly poor backgrounds – took place in the crumbling cottage in Skeete Road, Lyminge, where he lived alone.

A well-placed police source said “I don’t suppose his many victims will be cheering this news.

“Hopkins is a snake and always will be – the damage he has done in incalculable.”

Detectives were alerted to the abuse in 2003 when a man arrested blamed his criminal history on abuse at the hands of Hopkins. The man said he was not alone.

After a media appeal, other victims came forward, although police are convinced there were many dozens more and possibly tens of thousands of separate offences committed.

Chief Superintendent Chris Hogben, who was the Detective Chief Inspector in charge of Operation Weaver, which nailed Hopkins, was unaware the child sex fiend was now at large again.

He added: “One the one hand there these were serious offences, but what made it far worse was the breach of trust.

“If you get ten years, serving two-thirds of it is standard. What will happen is that he is going to be subject to the sex offenders management programme that we have in place.”

Because of Hopkins’ age, and the fact that he had not offended for some years before he was convicted, Mr Hogben said he is not the threat he was.