July 28 2014 Latest news:
by Imogen Blake
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The release of a convicted paedophile from jail has left a community divided as neighbours complain they have been left in the dark about his return.
Gerald Ingram, of Priory Gardens, Highgate, was jailed for three years and eight months in 2012 for arranging to sexually abuse children and for making and distributing indecent images of children.
Haringey police promised to set up a meeting with residents before his release from prison to discuss concerns about the former bookseller’s return to a street where about 30 young children live.
But Mr Ingram came home on Friday after serving half his sentence and neighbours are furious that police did not tell them he was about to be released.
Mum-of-one Carrie Kirkpatrick, who has lived in Priory Gardens for 11 years, said: “We were supposed to be warned. We have been going on about this but we have never once had a meeting. I can’t even fathom the ramifications.
“They can’t let him come back here. We will never be able to let our children out on the street ever again. Who’s going to protect them? I’m absolutely speechless.”
Anti-child abuse campaigner Belinda McKenzie, 67, of Priory Gardens, said that anybody with concerns should contact her and she can put them in touch with MPs and councillors.
But other residents urged calm. Nikki Allan-Dan, a teacher who has lived in Priory Gardens for 25 years, said: “He is totally harmless. It’s just the new people with young families who are jumping on the bandwagon. I think you will find that most people who have been here for quite a number of years feel the same way.”
Crouch End councillor Lyn Weber said she was “pretty annoyed” the police had not kept their promise to meet with residents.
She said: “They have the responsibility for community reassurance. The police have failed to engage with the community.”
Police are not obliged to tell residents if a sex offender is living in their community unless they ask for information about someone in contact with a child under Sarah’s Law, the new legislation enacted in 2011.
Mr Ingram, who plans to appeal his conviction, told the Ham&High “the police have completely set me up” but refused to comment further. In a note sent to his neighbours, he wrote: “Audi alterem partem. Let the other party be heard. Do not judge until you know the full facts.” Haringey Police did not comment.