July 2000

Outrage as sex offender plans to live in Sussex

A child rapist plans to live in West Sussex when he is released from prison.

Shocked parents living in the county where eight-year-old Sarah Payne was abducted and murdered have called the news “unbelievable” and “disgusting.”

The mother of three children who were attacked by Eric Page is planning to come to West Sussex to hand out leaflets and put up posters alerting families to his release.

Page, of Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, was sentenced to eight years in prison at Derby Crown Court in 1995 for charges of rape, indecent assault and indecency against three little girls between 1974 and 1986.

The rape victim was six years old.

He has served his sentence in Swaleside Prison in Kent and is due to be released in September.

The mother received a letter from Leicestershire and Rutland Probation Service, written on July 19, which said of Page: “He is scheduled to be released on non-parole licence in September this year; His release plan is to reside in West Sussex;

He will remain under the supervision of the Probation Service until May 2003.”

The mother said: “I just cannot believe how the victims are forgotten. He wants to go down and live in West Sussex but I would not want him next door to me.

“It is disgusting, it is unbelievable and I can only imagine how people down there must be feeling. I think people have got a right to know and I intend to come down to tell other parents.

“I don’t believe he should ever come out of prison.”

Last year, the mother led a successful campaign to stop Page being released a year early and one of the victims wrote to Home Secretary Jack Straw.

Both Leicestershire and Rutland and West Sussex Probation Services refused to comment.

Mother-of-four Tricia Porter, from Goring, has launched a petition which she will send to Jack Straw calling for tougher sentences on sex offenders. Following the murder of Sarah Payne she also wants to set up a Safe Houses scheme where children can go if they feel in danger.

Mrs Porter was appalled at the news of Page’s release. She said: “How can he get out after such a short time? This is a perfect example of why the law should be changed.

“We don’t want him here in West Sussex.”