THE former Exeter home of rapist Jakub Tomczak is still empty – five years after he was arrested.
Since then no one has lived in the ordinary-looking terraced house in Monks Road, Mount Pleasant.
Tomczak is still serving his sentence in Poland having been convicted in Exeter of the rape and brutal beating of a 48-year-old woman in Redlands Close, Whipton, in July 2006.
Tomczak, then 24, was arrested in his home town of Poznan, in Poland, in February 2007 for the horrific attack, in which his victim was left naked and unconscious under a pick-up truck.
In 2008 an Exeter Crown Court jury took three and a half hours to find Tomczak guilty of rape and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The victim subsequently died in the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital of unrelated causes in April 2010.
Every day residents in Monks Road are reminded of the terrible crime.
Neighbours said the house where Tomczak lived has been empty since he fled to Poland from the manhunt in Exeter.
The front and back gardens are overgrown with weeds, while piles of post can been seen on the floor behind the glass-fronted front door. There is no sign advertising the property for sale or rent.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "I have been here for two and a half years and no one has lived there in that time. I believe it is a private rented house, but I haven't seen anyone coming to look at it. I know the city council has been told and is looking into what it can do. We are suffering with damp seeping in from the empty house and would dearly like someone to move in."
Another neighbour added: "It is terrible that it should have been empty for so long when there are homeless people in Exeter.
"It is a nice house but being empty like that is a horrible reminder of who lived there and what he did. It needs to be occupied and the past forgotten."
A carer who looks after an elderly resident nearby said: "It has now been empty since he was arrested. It has become so overgrown.
"There is a lot of damp coming through, mostly in the kitchen at the back of the house. My client used to enjoy sitting in her back garden in the better weather, but now the back is so overgrown she does not enjoy it, or having visitors out there."
A spokesman for Exeter City Council said it was aware of the empty property.
He said: "The council has been in regular contact with the owner since November 2011 when it was reported as an empty property to the council by a neighbour.
"A recent complaint from a neighbour regarding the condition of the property has been received, and the environmental health department is currently investigating this matter.
"The council is working with the owner and it is hoped the property will be returned into use some time soon."
Council policy on empty homes is to encourage property owners to work with the council to reach a solution to bring the property back into use.
If the owner of an empty property is reluctant to take action within a reasonable period the council will consider the use of enforcement action to both improve the condition of the property and to bring the property back into use. But the council would not use enforcement action until all other avenues had been exhausted.
Tomczak will be eligible for parole after nine years – the same as if he were serving his sentence in England.
It is understood a new case is being prepared along the same lines as previous appeals.
Bids to secure a presidential pardon in Poland have failed.