Now released 

May 2006

Jailed sex offender banned from writing to his victims

THE Prison Service revealed last night that it had taken steps to prevent a serial sex offender contacting his victims from his cell.

Lawrence Petch had been accused by two women of sending them lewd letters while serving his sentence at Acklington Prison, in Northumberland.

He is still under investigation by police, and detectives are due to travel to the jail to interview him.

The Prison Service said it had held its own inquiry and had taken measures to stop it happening again.

A spokesman said: “The circumstances at the time were investigated and, as a result, measures have been put in place.

“Prison staff may, in appropriate circumstances, read and intercept prisoners’ correspondence.”

Petch, 54, was jailed for six years at Teesside Crown Court in April last year after he pleaded guilty to taking indecent photographs of a child, sexual activity with a child, making payment for sexual services, and causing a child to engage in sex acts.

He made hundreds of videos of naked teenage girls, showed them pornography and made them dance naked for him at his home in Parker Terrace, Ferryhill, County Durham, after plying them with vodka and wine.

His victims, who were aged between 12 and 16, were filmed in a bedroom labelled the Sex Club.

In a letter sent to The Northern Echo this week, Petch said he was in “the dustbin of the prison service”.

The sex attacker also complained that his human rights were being breached because he was not allowed to hang up a Page 3 girls calendar in his cell.

He wrote: “They do not like me here because I stand up for my rights.”

Petch went on to write that he has examined papers from his court case in which he tells a probation officer that one of his victims had a crush on him and that he had hoped to have sex with her, but was arrested.

He wrote: “Reading it on its own, it sounds bad, but when it is put in perspective -the girl was over 16, the legal age of consent. We had consensual sex. When I asked her to go further, she said no and I accepted that.”

He went on to describe in the letter a sex act he performed on the girl, which he filmed.

Petch has been banned from working with children, put on the sex offenders’ register for life and ordered to be on extended licence for seven years when he is released.

In 1993, he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl and showing pornography to teenage girls at his former house in Helmsley Close, Ferryhill.

He had previous convictions for indecent assault and showing indecent images to children when he was jailed in May 1993.

Durham Police said last night: “An investigation is still continuing and detectives from this force plan to interview him in prison in the immediate future.”