Relative feared ‘unbelievably evil’ child rapist would strike

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A RELATIVE of Child X today told how he feared the 11-year-old would harm someone just months before he raped a nine-year-old boy.

“Unbelievably evil” and “a menace” is how the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was today described as the relative criticised the lack of intervention and support provided to the family.

Yesterday, the Echo revealed how Sunderland City Council had apologised for a series of errors in the care offered to the schoolboy in the months prior to him carrying out the rape in June 2009.

The man, who does not want to be identified, said grave mistakes were made.

He said: “The warning signs were all there. If they had listened then maybe this could have been avoided.”

The relative told how Child X had plagued neighbours from the time he moved into the Wearside community.

“He was unbelievably evil,” he said. “Within six months of them moving in, he was breaking into allotments and killing pigeons and chickens and would find birds’ nests and pull them apart.

“About two years before the rape we saw him several times chasing little girls with his hands down his pants. He was a menace.

“My biggest fear is he’s being released this year and I strongly believe he will offend again, only this time it could be worse because he’s bigger and stronger.”

Yesterday’s Serious Case Review highlighted a number of errors, including Sunderland Council’s failure to respond to two letters from child psychiatrist Stephen Westgarth urging them to take action over Child X.

The youngster’s unstable mental health not being acted on earlier and a lack of communication between departments and agencies were also blamed for the system failing to protect the youth.

A string of measures has now been put in place in an attempt to prevent similar cases happening in the future.

In November 2009, the child was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in a detention centre followed by an extended licence period for a further three-and-a-half years.

The Echo believes the child will be released later this year but it is understood he will not be released back into the community where he lived.

@sunechocrime