More victims of serial sex offender Kevin Lakeman have spoken of their distress after discovering he could be back on the streets of Sunderland within weeks.
One of the woman was the first of the fiend’s victims when she was grabbed and held at knifepoint as she walked home from a 1981 New Year’s Eve party at 2am.
Her terrifying incident came to an end when he was disturbed by other people walking down the street in Downhill.
Police knocked on her door years later to ask for help as they pieced together how 26 sex attacks on women aged from 16 to 20 over a 12 year period were linked.
Lakeman was finally jailed at Newcastle Crown Court in 1995 for a minimum of 12 years, but has now been told by the Parole Board he can now been released.
The then 31-year-old, of Ribble Road in Red House, was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of three rapes and an attempted rape.
Eight other rape charges and four of attempted rape, all of which Lakeman denied, were allowed to lie on file.
It was more than 20 years ago, but it never leaves you.Victim of Kevin Lakeman
Ten other sex charges against him were dropped.
His victims have spoken out as they fear they could come face-to-face with him if he is allowed to return to live on Wearside.
They say he has already been back on day release, drinking in pubs and meeting family members in the city centre.
Earlier this week, the Echo revealed how one of his rape victims, who was attacked after celebrating New Year’s Eve in Sunderland city centre in 1994, was told he will be living in monitored accommodation, but she will not be told if he resettles on Wearside.
His first victim and another he preyed say they only found out about his impending release through our story.
“It’s like somebody putting a knife into my stomach and twisting it because that’s what it’s going to be like, knowing that he’s out,” said the woman, who was subjected to an attempted rape.
“Women he attacked still live in Sunderland.
“I can’t leave the house alone, I need to have somebody with me, and the panic, it’s just horrendous. “You’re always looking out the corner of your eye in case somebody tries to put something around your neck.
“You’re looking over your shoulder all of the time and then the worst of it is I found out he would be released through the Echo.
“I am a victim and I haven’t received a letter.
“I’ll be asking why not.
“I just don’t want him back in Sunderland.”
Lakeman also faced a charge of rape in relation to another woman who was raped in her home, again at knife point, while her children slept in the next room in 1989, but the case was left to lie on file.
She said: “It was more than 20 years ago, but it never leaves you.
“I don’t think he should be let out.
“It just feels like the perpetrator has been treated better than the victims here.”
She added she was “angry” she had not been told of the plans to release him, despite her contacting them after she heard of his visits to Sunderland.
The Parole Board has previously confirmed Lakeman’s release following a hearing last month.
The Ministry of Justice has been contacted in relation to the victims’ concerns they had not been informed of Lakeman’s release.