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CHELMSFORD: Neighbours' fury after paedophile moves back home

By This is Essex  |  Posted: December 02, 2010

  • PAEDOPHILE'S LAIR: Blanchard's house in Burnell Gate, Chelmsford

  • TRAPPED: Leslie Blanchard was caught in a police undercover sting

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A NOTORIOUS paedophile linked to James Bulger's killer is back in the Chelmsford community after being released from prison.

Leslie Blanchard, 53, has returned to the home he fled back in February after disgusted neighbours mounted a leaflet campaign to force him out.

Now residents in Burnell Gate, Beaulieu Park, are furious Blanchard – a known associate of Jamie Bulger's killer Jon Venables – has returned and one family has even put their house up for sale and moved out.

One neighbour, a mother with children who asked not to be named, told the Chronicle: "It is very worrying that he is back.

"No one wants him around here, and there are a lot of us who are very upset."

The former kitchen fitter was trapped by a police officer posing as a pervert with a 12-year-old daughter available for sex in April 2009.

Following a search of his home police discovered children's underwear, as well as thousands of indecent images of children on his computer.

He was convicted but spared jail because the judge couldn't be convinced Blanchard would have gone through with the attack and the child was fictional, plus he had already spent 249 days in custody.

He was then hounded out of his home after a leaflet campaign by residents and fled to Great Dunmow. But he was exposed by his new neighbours and fled again to an undisclosed location in July.

Nathan King and his family, who rented the Burnell Gate home unaware of their landlord's history, were shocked to discover a box of his possessions in the garage, containing children's underwear and a map of Cambridgeshire with schools marked in pen.

Then he was named as a contact of Venables, during the child killer's trial for distribution of child pornography earlier this year.

It emerged at that case at the Old Bailey that Venables had contact with Blanchard using the false identity of the mother of an eight-year-old girl.

Blanchard offered cash in exchange for access to the girl – just months before he would do the same thing with the undercover detective, which led to his arrest.

In August he was arrested again for breaching his sex offences prevention order (SOPO) by looking at adult pornography and joining an online dating site and jailed for six months in November.

But he was released almost immediately because of the time he had served on remand.

The mother who contacted the Chronicle said that she became aware of Blanchard's return to Chelmsford after she was visited by police officers.

She said: "They called at my home and advised me that he was moving back for a few days to get some of his possessions.

"That was several weeks ago but he is still here.

"The police told me not to tell anyone else but I don't think that this is right – I think everyone should be made aware of the danger."

Another parent living in Burnell Gate said: "I had heard that he was back.

"It is terrifying to think that someone like that is living nearby."

Det Ch Insp Paul Johnson of Essex Police said: "Because of what had gone on before, we did visit and advise one resident that Blanchard would be returning to the house to sort his affairs out.

"We cannot tell him where to live, and he owns the house.

"We cannot tell anyone not to pass on knowledge they have about the whereabouts of any sex offender – however we can, and should, advise that there could well be consequences to "outing".

"We would like to assure everyone that he is managed extremely closely and if they have any concerns about his behaviour they should contact us immediately."

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