Parents 'up in arms' as paedophile moves home
WORRIED parents are keeping their children at home now that a man convicted of distributing vile pornography is living in their village.
Matthew Clark, 28, recently moved from Tiverton to the outskirts of Uffculme and has set up home close to families with young children.
A fortnight ago, the Gazette reported how he received a suspended prison sentence after admitting seven counts of distributing indecent images of children and 22 of making or possessing illegal images.
He distributed 222 indecent pictures or movies of children and was found with more than 4,000 more on his own computers.
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Some of the images Clark had were classed as extreme and included the rape of children as young as two, Exeter Crown Court was told.
An anonymous Uffculme parent said it was "soul destroying" to discover Clark now lived nearby and was a neighbour to children as young as 18 months old.
They said: "There are pre-schools, a primary school and a secondary school close by so it is quite a big issue for parents – they are up in arms about it.
"We don't want him near our children. It is absolutely soul-destroying. At the moment I am not letting mine out, which is ridiculous, and I can't believe that man is allowed to live here.
"All of the children are within the age group which he appears to be interested in."
The parent said that she heard that Clark, who has been ordered to attend a sex offenders' treatment programme, was now living near the village through gossip among parents waiting for children at the school gates.
Clark, who worked as a barman in Topsham, uploaded hundreds of abuse images into a 'drop box' and then used internet chat rooms to give the passwords to like-minded offenders.
Clark is not living next to any schools or nurseries and police say offenders "need to live somewhere" and people should report any suspicious incidents.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "It is important to acknowledge that the majority of sex offending is committed not by strangers but by people known to the victim either as family members, relatives or acquaintances.
"Offenders who have committed sex offences are managed well within the community and the vast majority do not commit further sexual offending.
"They are additionally made subject of measures under the sex offender register requiring notification to the police for instance of their place of residence or any plans to travel, and in addition appropriate restrictions subject of a sex offenders prevention orders.
"If the public have concerns regarding a convicted sex offender living in their community they should raise them with local police."