Paedophile warned he would attack again:

Outrage after trial hears how man begged to be locked away for life but was given his freedom within three years

London Guardian | March 2, 2004

Child protection charities were outraged yesterday when it emerged that a paedophile jailed for life for molesting two boys had previously begged to be locked up for as long as possible to keep him away from children.
Thomas Titley, 46, admitted subjecting the two seven-year-olds to an appalling catalogue of sexual abuse in a 6ft pit underneath his bedroom floor.

Titley lured the boys to his ground floor flat in Walsall, in the West Midlands, with promises of cigarettes and alcohol. He even forced one boy to help him dig the pit, similar to one used by the serial killer character Buffalo Bill in the 1991 horror film Silence of the Lambs to imprison his victims.

On one occasion, Titley terrified the boy by covering the hole with carpet with him inside it. Police discovered the pit when they raided the flat after a tip-off from a neighbour last April.

They found one boy in a dog kennel and the offences against the other boy only came to light in July when he "freaked out" after his mother lifted carpet to redecorate.

Titley was sentenced to life at Wolverhampton crown court yesterday for 15 sample charges of abuse which took place in 2001 and 2002.

But the court also heard Titley had asked to be jailed for as long as possible when he was previously convicted of abusing 14- and 15-year-old boys.

John Evans, Titley's defence counsel, said Titley acknowledged the danger he posed to children when he was first arrested in 1996. He wanted to live in sheltered accommodation on his release in 1999, but spent just 12 months in a probation hostel before he was given a flat in May 2000 in Walsall, where he abused the seven-year-olds.

Mr Evans said this time Titley had made it clear he wanted to be in prison for between 10 years and life.

A statement on behalf of the Walsall Multi-Agency Protection Panel, made up of representatives from West Midlands police, the housing authority, health service and probation service, said: "When a sex offender is released from prison that person is placed in a location determined by the Probation Service and local authority housing, with consideration by the MAPP. They are visited by the police and any relevant third parties are informed.

"The sex offender is monitored within the boundaries laid down by law. As is standard procedure, our management of Thomas Titley in this case is being reviewed."

Ute Navidi, ChildLine's head of policy, said the case raised serious questions about how convicted sex offenders are treated on completion of sentence. "Thomas Titley's continued warnings that he would reoffend should have been heeded and steps taken to ensure he did not have the opportunity to abuse other children.

"Where a person, be it through professional assessment or by their own admission, continues to pose a significant danger to children, a programme of secure treatment must be made available."

Michele Elliott, director of children's charity, Kidscape, said it was a terrible tragedy that Titley had been freed just before the introduction of new Department of Health/Home Office guidelines, which would have allowed him to be incarcerated indefinitely.

"The Dangerous Severe Personality Policy, part of the Mental Health Act, means certain people can be kept in indeterminate detention until it is felt they no longer pose any risk to society," she said.

"We've been calling on the government to introduce something like this for years and it is horrendous that Titley had to commit other crimes in order for him to be locked up. We are just fortunate he did not kill a child.

When arrested, Titley made a full confession to police, saying he was a "danger to the public" and "addicted to abusing young children".

Last November, he admitted 15 sample charges; four of child abduction, six of indecency with a child, three of indecent assault, false imprisonment and a breach of a sex offender's order.

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Robert Orme said Titley exhibited a "totally depraved and abusive attitude towards young children".

 
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