December 2010

Rapist is back on the streets after serving just 2½ years

A RAPIST who attacked five young women (two 15 yr olds) was released back into the community after less than two-and-a-half years

Now Aleem Sheid is living back in the same area where he committed his crimes, despite twice breaching orders imposed on him since being set free.

The timing of Sheid’s release came to light after he appeared in court for breaking conditions put in place by the police to closely monitor his movements and behaviour.

It is not known whether any of his victims have been told he is now free.

At his trial, Sheid denied rape, attempted rape and three sexual assaults on Derby women and teenagers, but was found guilty.

A psychiatrist then ruled he had “significant deficiencies in his everyday awareness and social functions”.

A judge gave Sheid an indefinite hospital order but said that if the medical evidence had not been so overwhelming he could have sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Judge Jeremy Lea told him that his victims had “suffered significant psychological harm” and that it was impossible to predict when he would not pose a significant risk.

Despite those comments, Sheid was discharged from a secure hospital by a mental health tribunal after just two years and four months.

A group that supports victims of sexual offences said it seemed a short detention for someone who had committed such serious crimes.

Jacqui Bowman, manager of Derbyshire Rape Crisis, said: “If this man was sentenced for committing sexual offences with five different women then two-and-a-half years is not much of a deterrent, regardless of whether it’s in hospital or prison.

“And it is debatable if someone has committed that severity of crime that they will have changed that much, although it is always possible.”

Ms Bowman said the group felt sentences for sexual assault and rape were “quite low”.

She said: “Considering rape is just one down from murder in the scheme of serious offences, the sentences do not seem to reflect that severity.

“It’s quite re-traumatising for people who are brave enough to come forward and it can be a feeling amongst victims that they are not taken seriously by the courts because of the sentences given out.”

Sheid, 29, of Madeley Street, Normanton, struck five times between November 2001 and March 2005.

In the first attack, he grabbed a prostitute in Sacheverel Street and threatened to beat her to force her to perform a sex act on him.

He struck again in the Sacheverel Street area in June 2004, when he sexually assaulted another prostitute.

In Hartington Street, in November 2004, he dragged a 17-year-old in an alleyway and sexually assaulted her.

In February 2005, he attempted to rape a 15-year-old girl in the River Gardens in broad daylight.

His final victim was a 15-year-old whom he raped in Dover Street, Normanton.

Following his trial in November 2006, Judge Lea sent Sheid to a secure hospital unit, indefinitely.

He told him: “Only when the authorities feel it is safe will you be considered for release.”

Sheid was discharged from hospital in March 2009 by the Mental Health Tribunals Service.

It said it was unable to comment on individual cases but a spokesman said: “Public safety is our highest priority and careful consideration is given to this, along with expert medical reports and witness statements, when reaching any decision regarding the detention of patients under the Mental Health Act.”

Brian Nuttall, from Derbyshire Probation Service, said a patient could not be lawfully detained if there were no treatment needs that still needed to be met or could be met.

He said: “Somebody might be a risk to the public irrespective of any mental health assessment but there are no lawful grounds for their continued detention.”

The responsibility of informing victims of serious crimes about the offender being back in the community falls with the probation service or hospital managers.

Mr Nuttall said the victim liaison team would pass on victims’ contact details to the Mental Health Tribunal Service or the hospital.

But because authorities say they cannot comment on individual cases, no confirmation has been given about whether Sheid’s victims have been informed about his release.

A spokeswoman for Victim Support, a charity that gives free help to victims of crime, said: “The most important considerations when someone is released from detention should be the potential re-victimisation of those affected by their crime and the safety of the public.”

In December last year, Sheid was handed a 12-month jail-term, suspended for two years, for failing to comply with the sex register requirement he was given when he was sentenced.

Sheid had gone on holiday to Pakistan shortly after being discharged from hospital without filling in paperwork to inform the police.

The police then applied for him to be given a ten-year sexual offenders prevention order so they could monitor him more closely, which was granted by magistrates in January this year.

He has now appeared at Derby Crown Court for breaching the order – for not attending a probation service appointment and staying at an address not approved by the police.

Judge John Burgess handed him a 26-week prison sentence but, because he had been on remand since April, he was released immediately.