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Anger that convicted sex attacker was allowed to live near Oldbury schools
3:16pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
NEARLY a year after a quiet Oldbury neighbourhood erupted in fury at claims that convicted sex offenders were living on their doorstep, feelings of anger are still running high.
Mums and dads took to the streets and forced the closure of the Adullam Homes Housing Association block where pervert Michael Jackson carried out his horrendous crime against a 10-year-old boy last November.
Lowrey Court tenants, described as “vulnerable,” were hurriedly re-housed amid fear of attacks by people who thought the block was used as a halfway house for offenders, although this was denied by police.
But ground floor tenant Jackson did have a history of sexual assaults, having been convicted of molesting a woman in 1981 and in 1983 of luring a 13-year-old girl into his tower block apartment before grabbing her at knifepoint and tying her up with her roller boot laces.
The protests gave rise to the Sandwell United Parents, which campaigns to protect children from paedophiles and boasts more than 2,700 online members.
Its founder, mother-of-five Shelly Showell, said the court hearing brought “memories of a very hurtful time” flooding back and she said there was a lot of anger that Jackson had been allowed to live in the Bristnall Hall neighbourhood.
“The flat where he lived is so close to three schools, there are no words to describe how we feel about that,” she added.
Although delighted that Jackson is facing the prospect of an indefinite prison sentence, she said there was anger that the Crown Prosecution Service had dropped charges of kidnap, false imprisonment and sexually assault of a woman in Dudley, which he had denied.
“There is no closure for that victim - there is still no justice for her,” said Mrs Showell.
She vowed the parents group will continue with its campaign, which includes online alerts to incidents such as missing persons via Facebook.
SUP members are also working with police on a project to take street safety into schools and youth clubs and are running an e-petition campaigning for communities to be alerted if child sex offenders go off radar via television and the press with their name and recent photograph.
The group has also been involved in talks over the future of the now boarded up Lowrey Court which Adullam Homes Housing Association is selling to the Black Country Housing Group.
Mrs Showell said they were happy that the block will be used for specialist accommodation for vulnerable people, but not ex-cons.
“We told them we would not support the sale unless we were happy with the use and that Jackson’s flat should never be used as a home again - it will be an office,” she added.
Ian Stuart, director of housing services at Black Country Housing Group, said it was hoped the purchase of the 10 flats in Lowrey Court will be finalised in the next four to six weeks.
The group plans to completely refurbish the block.
Adullam’s director of business development Steve Woods added: “We are pleased the Black Country Housing Group have decided to work with us to turn this unfortunate incident into something that will benefit people who are living in the local area.”