No se­crecy if a rapist is let out early

The People - - NEWS FEATURES -

ASH­LEY Shuck was jailed for eight years for rape in 2012.

Af­ter serv­ing four he was re­leased.

That may sound like a soft touch. But there are all sorts of rea­sons peo­ple are let out early.

It should be that there were checks in place to make sure his re­lease was safe – po­lice, so­cial ser­vices, pro­ba­tion, psy­chol­o­gists, crim­i­nol­o­gists.

Maybe there were. But we don’t know.

Here, though, is what we do know. We know that weeks af­ter he was given his free­dom, Shuck turned up at a 77-year-old woman’s house at 7am.

We know that by pre­tend­ing to be a gas engi­neer he gained en­try to her home. We know he raped her twice. We also know a week ear­lier he sex­u­ally as­saulted a young woman who he started talk­ing to while she stood in her gar­den.

But what we don’t know is why he was re­leased. We’re not al­lowed to know.

There is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But it will never be pub­lished.

Po­lice say “na­tional guid­ance” makes its con­tents se­cret.

We un­der­stand sen­tenc­ing guide­lines. We un­der­stand the con­cept of early re­lease. So why is this kept from us? If there were mis­takes or the pro­ce­dure is flawed, the pub­lic has a right to know.

The Sun­day Peo­ple re­vealed that in the last five years 264 rapists re­peated their crimes.

That sug­gests that some­thing in the sys­tem is bro­ken.

Op­er­at­ing in the dark is not right in cases like this.

If the au­thor­i­ties are pre­pared to set free those who com­mit some of the most heinous crimes imag­in­able then these are im­por­tant de­ci­sions.

And we de­serve to know how they are made.

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