20 Dec 2010

Dying paedophile posing a problem

10:51 am on 20 December 2010

The failing health of one of the country's oldest imprisoned paedophiles is posing a dilemma for the Parole Board.

Donald Liddington, 73, is serving preventive detention for a series of sexual offences against young girls, including the rape of a pre-schooler.

He has what is described as a devious and manipulative criminal past in Lower Hutt, during which he befriended solo parents, posed as a priest and worked as a school caretaker to get close to childrn.

Liddington was first sentenced to prison in 1989 and relapsed while on parole in 1998.

The exact nature of his condition is being kept secret, but it is so serious it requires hourly checks by prison medical staff who are said to be under very great strain.

The Parole Board says the prognosis leaves no room for optimism. But psychologists say Liddington still poses a high risk of sexual reoffending.

Despite that, the board believes he should be paroled in the interests of humane containment.

Its preference is for secure 24-hour supervision in a facility, which the board says must urgently be found.