How was convicted sex offender allowed to go missing in Tyrone? Lord Morrow demands probe after arrest

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An MLA is demanding an investigation into how a convicted sex offender with a horrific history of rape and molestation was allowed to ‘disappear off the police radar’ before being arrested for allegedly approaching a 14-year-old boy in Ballygawley.

James White, originally from Crossmaglen, but with an address in Stewartstown, was charged in August with contravening the SOPO order he had been given in 1998 after being convicted of sexually assaulting underage boys.

The 45-year-old was charged with living at two addresses without the permission of the designated risk manager between January 3 and July 25 this year, and failing to notify police of his address.

It is also alleged that in contravention of the order, he had possession of a mobile phone that gave him access to the internet, had contact with a 14-year-old boy in Ballygawley, permitted a person under the age of 18 to consume alcohol in the Ballygawley area and left Northern Ireland without the approval of his designated risk manager.

Now DUP peer Maurice Morrow has demanded an investigation into how White was allegedly allowed to ‘go missing’ for almost a year.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone representative has tabled a question with the Department of Justice and asked for a Serious Case Review into the handling of White.

However, Justice Minister Claire Sudgen has told the MLA that the case does not meet the criteria for such a probe.

“The current charges against Mr White do not meet the serious violent offence threshold and there are no grounds to suggest that there has been a significant failure in his risk management by statutory agencies whilst on licence”, she said.

“Any review of risk management of an offender, subject to statutory requirements monitored by PSNI, would be a matter for the Chief Constable.”