Man wanted for child sex abuse allegations bailed by judge to live next to primary school | UK | News

Verners Miklavs was bailed to an address next to a primary school (Image: Sunday Express)

A MAN wanted by police to answer child sex abuse allegations against two young girls was allowed to live next door to a primary school after a judge freed him from custody.

Verners Ricards Miklavs, 20, is alleged to have seriously sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl and raped a girl, aged 10, both in Latvia – accusations he denies.

He was arrested in Kettering, Northants, under a European Arrest Warrant on January 8 and remanded into custody at Westminster Magistrates Court two days later.

On January 25, after he paid a £1,000 security to the court and his Latvian passport and ID card were surrendered, District Judge Neeta Minhas allowed his release on conditional bail to his home next to a school attended by seven to 11 year olds.

Miklavs was only moved to an alternative property after the Sunday Express alerted Kettering MP Philip Hollobone to the situation on Tuesday.

He immediately contacted Stephen Mold, police and crime commissioner for the county, who intervened to get Miklavs moved away from the school.

Mr Hollobone said: “I am really grateful to the Sunday Express for bringing this to my attention.

“As soon as the paper did so I contacted Mr Mold, who was as horrified as I was that someone accused of such offences was in accommodation near a primary school.

“He took immediate action and the alleged offender has been moved out of the property away from school children. I shall be writing to the court minister to draw his attention to this inappropriate lenient bail conditions imposed on the alleged offender.”

When Miklavs, who is fighting extradition with legal aid, was remanded, the court recorded it was due to an “absconsion risk” and the “seriousness of the alleged offences”.

The home, also occupied by Miklav’s mother and stepfather, has a small garden that adjoins the school grounds.

When Miklavs was initially bailed, the court had no idea his home was next to a school and he was placed under a curfew from 10pm to 4am.

Phillip Hollobone MP took immediate action once alerted by the Sunday Express (Image: Parliament)

The court only learned of concerns about the school on February 8, after he breached a bail condition by not charging his GPS tracker.

His curfew was changed to keep him inside daily from 7.30am to 9am and from 3pm to 7pm.

He was also banned from any school grounds and contact with females under 18.

Increasing numbers of people wanted in connection with sexual or violent offences have been bailed by the extradition court as the Ministry of Justice deals with prison overcrowding.

David Spencer, research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention thinktank, said: “It is absolutely scandalous that an alleged child sex offender, who should face extradition, is instead being released into the community.

“Prison capacity is no excuse for putting the public, and especially children, at risk in this way.

“Alleged foreign criminals should be detained behind bars until they can be extradited or deported.”

Approached at the home, before he was moved, Miklavs claimed that he is innocent and poses no threat to children.

Asked about concerns about the location, he said: “I can see why people would be [worried about me living near a school]… I don’t want to stay in prison. Even though the conditions are not as bad as in my country, it’s still a prison.”

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “Verners Ricards Miklavs is sought by Latvia, pursuant to an accusation warrant to be tried for sexual offences against two children.

“The first incident allegedly took place in 2018, the second in 2019. The offending took place in the territory of Latvia.

“The allegations are seriously sexually assaulting and attempting to rape and assault a seven-year-old girl in 2018 when he was 15 years old.

“He is also accused of raping a 10-year-old girl in 2019 when he was 16 years old.

“The requested person was initially granted bail without the court being made aware of relevant context about his home address.

“We sought to put this right by applying twice to have him remanded in custody, which resulted in more stringent bail conditions aimed at safeguarding children.

“We are looking at how this happened, and continue to work closely with police to ensure children are effectively safeguarded.”

Miklavs’ extradition case was adjourned until May.

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: “Following representations from the force an alternative bail address has now been arranged away from the area and we are working with partners to find more appropriate longer-term accommodation.

“We are monitoring the situation and will take immediate action should any breaches of bail occur.”

The court and local education authority were also contacted for comment.

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