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Sunderland sex offender fled without trace after fatal arson attack at hostel - and moved almost 300 miles away

A Sunderland sex offender vanished without trace and in fear for 18 months after his hostel was subject to a fatal arson attack – and then hid himself again after being found.

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:55 pm

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Kevin Patterson, 48, now of Regent Terrace, Grangetown, packed his bags and set up home almost 300 miles away, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

But he failed to alert police to his new whereabouts – putting him in breach of his obligations under the terms of the sex offenders register.

He was only found when police discovered his new mobile phone number through the Department for Work and Pensions.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

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Contact was finally renewed in January – but Patterson disappeared a second time and was not found again for two months.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said his acts were deliberate and posed a clear risk to the public, given his previous convictions.

In 2014, he was convicted of inciting a female aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child aged under 16.

For those, he was placed on the sex offenders register for life by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court, a requirement of which is to inform police of any new address.

Mrs Yanes Hellevik said: “His offender manager tried to make contact by voicemail and text message, and then went to his registered address.

“He was told by the occupant that no-one of that name was living there.

“There was no address found until January 11 when the officer spoke to the Department for Work and Pensions.

“The DWP gave a number which was not held by the police. By this point, there had been no contact for 18 months.

“The offender manager spoke on the phone to the defendant, who said he was back sleeping rough in Sunderland.

“He said he knew that he should have registered but was fearful of going to prison.”

The court heard Patterson had moved to Cirencester, Gloucestershire, but after being found, officially registered his new address as Chepstow Street, Sunderland.

That was in February, but Mrs Yanes Hellevik revealed he had vanished again by the time officers checked on him on April 5.

She added: “They attended that address but were told that the defendant had left about six weeks earlier, and hadn’t left a forwarding address.

“There was no attempt to speak to his offender manager. The crown says there was a clear risk, given his previous offences.”

Patterson pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to comply with the notification requirements of the sex offenders register.

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said Patterson had first moved after a man died in an arson attack at his hostel.

She added: “It’s clearly a deliberate breach, I can’t say it’s not deliberate.

“There have been violent threats against him. He may well have been worried, but these are requirements he has to keep.”

Patterson was jailed for 18 weeks for each offence, to run consecutively but suspended for 18 months.

He must complete 20 rehabilitation days and pay a £128 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.