‘Confusion’ blamed for paedophile home error

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A “breakdown in communication” between a judge and a housing association has been blamed for a decision to allow a convicted paedophile to continue to live near his victim.

Zabhullah Boota, from Bradford, was found guilty of sexual assault and inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity last November. He was subsequently sentenced to a community order at Bradford Crown Court.

At the time, Recorder Benjamin Nolan QC cited a housing association’s decision to evict Boota from his home as a reason for not imposing a residence order on the man despite Boota living in the same neighbourhood as his victim.

Delivering the sentence, the recorder stated: “One can see that (Boota returning home) is likely to cause aggravation and distress.

“However, I hear you are, in effect, being evicted by the housing association that rents you your home and I anticipate you will have to move in some matter of months in any event.”

However, the housing association, which cannot be named for legal reasons, has disputed the judge’s comments.

A spokesperson said: “We were not party to these legal proceedings.

“The judge’s comments were not communicated to us and we have no record of them on file.

“We cannot evict someone from their home without an order from the court. We continue to monitor the situation and work with both families in what is a delicate matter.”

The victim’s mother condemned the mix-up.

“You would think that the judge would be making these comments on the back of solid evidence,” she said.

“I think of it and it is absolutely sickening the way everything has turned out. I was under the impression he was going to be evicted.

“My daughter is really struggling, she still has nightmares. Her innocence was taken away. She doesn’t trust any adults, and a child shouldn’t feel that way.”

Lesley Mclean, West Yorkshire divisional manager for the charity Victim Support, said: “For victims of sexual assault to continue to live in fear of the offender, particularly if they are living near to the victim, is unacceptable.”