Thousands of pedophiles in the UK are legally changing their names as a means to bypass scrutiny and rape and abuse young children, according to a report in The Times.
According to evidence shown to the British newspaper, convicted pedophiles are changing their names by deed poll and failing to inform the authorities to avoid detection. They then use their new identities to gain access to young children.
The Times reports: In the most serious cases men barred for life from working with children used their new name to gain employment in schools and homes where they committed multiple further offences.
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One, who worked as an au pair, was jailed last year after police in Belgium uncovered a paedophile ring with nine million child abuse images. Another is in custody in Spain suspected of abusing 36 young girls at a school.
Both were British teachers convicted of child abuse and placed on the sex offenders register. Each changed his name by deed poll, acquired a passport and in one case clearance from the disclosure and barring service (DBS) to work with children. The Times has been shown a copy of the DBS certificate.
All registered sex offenders are required to notify their local police force within three days of changing their name. Failure to do so is a criminal offence but the onus is placed entirely on the offender to comply with the law.
Ian Huntley, who murdered the ten-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, gained his caretaker post at a local school after applying using the name Ian Nixon. As Huntley, he was suspected of sex offences against young girls in Humberside but a national check of criminal records by the Cambridgeshire force, carried out when he applied for the job, looked only for the name Ian Nixon.
Potential solutions include placing a digital marker on the files of all registered sex offenders at the DVLA and the passport office, or to remove the do-it-yourself option for the name change process.