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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Shock at murder response

12-9-2003 United Kingdom:
The senior officer investigating the murder of a 73-year-old convicted sex offender said he was shocked by the attitude of some locals who said he deserved to die.

Detective Superintendent Brian Dunn, of Cleveland police, said there had been a hard core of people who had been systematically targeting Arnold Hartley because of his conviction for sex offences.

Mr Hartley was found battered to death at his home in the seaside town of Redcar on November 29.

"Quite clearly, feelings are running high," Mr Dunn said yesterday. "Feelings have been running high since his conviction for sex offences.

"I can understand why people are concerned, but at the end of the day it is not justified to systematically target and bully someone so they are left with nothing of any value and stripped of large amounts of cash.

"This is a shocking indictment. Are people really content to let anarchy rule? Are people content to turn a blind eye when someone has been killed?" He said it was a "small minority" who had plagued him and justified doing so because he was a sex offender.

Mr Dunn described Mr Hartley as a "sad, pathetic figure". He said his attackers had smashed his front door and windows and pulled the shutters off his house.

"People are saying that it is no great loss but we can't expect people to tolerate murder."

Mr Hartley was jailed in 2001 for 12 months at Teesside crown court for gross indecency and making indecent images of a girl under 14. On his release in April 2002, he returned to his home and was subjected to repeated attacks. ..more.. by Helen Carter

Paedophile Murder Suspects Freed by Police

Two people arrested over the murder of a convicted paedophile found battered to death in his own home were released by police tonight. The body of 73-year-old sex offender Arnold Hartley was discovered in the early hours of Saturday at his home in Redcar, Cleveland.

He suffered serious injuries to the head and face in an apparent vigilante attack. Cleveland Police said a 28-year-old man and a woman, 20, who were arrested and interviewed today have been released “unconditionally.”

A police spokesman said it was not possible to say whether Mr Hartley was the victim of a vigilante attack. But neighbours said his dilapidated home had been attacked many times and his car damaged by people who knew of his criminal past.

He was jailed for 12 months in 2001 for making indecent images of a girl under the age of 14 and gross indecency.

At a news conference today, Detective Superintendent Brian Dunn said Mr Hartley had lived at his home in Queen Street for many years and was well-known in the community as a sex offender.

On his release in April 2002, the paedophile returned to the area and moved back into his previous address. Mr Dunn said Mr Hartley was on the Sex Offenders’ Register and was considered a “medium risk“. There had been “previous problems” at the address and Mr Hartley had been subjected to harassment, Mr Dunn added.

There was a disturbance shortly after midnight on Saturday in Queen Street and police have appealed for help in piecing together what happened.

Mr Dunn said: “This is a murder inquiry and obviously Mr Hartley’s previous conviction will form part of the inquiry.

“But whatever he has done in the past does not give people the right to attack and kill him.” The paedophile’s home had been subjected to many attacks, a neighbour said, but Mr Hartley once claimed he had “no enemies“.

Cal Birkbeck, owner of the Castle Hotel, opposite Mr Hartley’s two-storey terraced home, said the pensioner gave up replacing his broken windows because they had been smashed that many times.

The hotelier told PA News: “It is common knowledge he was a paedophile. “He looked very meek and mild and wore glasses. “He got his car smashed up about 18 months ago and it looked like somebody had been jumping up and down on the roof.

“I said somebody must have a grudge against him because they hadn’t attacked any other cars. “But he said ’Oh no, I haven’t got any enemies’. “It is very strange.”

Mr Birkbeck believed the pensioner lived alone but he did remember seeing teenage girls going into the house.

“It is quite strange but we just thought it was his granddaughter or something. “Then it came to light that he was a paedophile.”

The hotel owner said some local mothers complained about having a convicted sex offender living nearby but he said there was little that they could do.

Three police vans were guarding the front of the property while another car was in the back alley. The house, close to Redcar’s seafront, stands less than 100 yards from a nursery.

The front door of the house was hidden behind a makeshift tent and forensic experts could be seen going in and out of the rundown property. Uniformed officers were carrying out house-to-house inquiries while two others were patrolling on horseback.

Three floral tributes were left in front of the house, with one card simply saying “God Bless“. ..more..

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