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Mother of on-the-run Exeter paedophile victim hits out against ‘not fit for purpose' probation service

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 30, 2013

  • Mark Sleman also known as Archie

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The mother of a girl who was kidnapped by Exeter armed robber and paedophile Mark Sleman has hit out against the probation service for letting him go on-the-run.

The service has been branded “not fit for purpose” after allowing Sleman to flee his Exeter bail hostel following his release from prison earlier this year.

Mark Sleman, also known as Archie, had once been convicted for kidnapping and trying to rape a 10-year-old child. He was released earlier this year on licence as part of a seven-year sentence for robbing a homeless man at knifepoint and attempting to rob a garage shop supervisor in Exeter, again armed with a knife.

Despite being described by the judge as a “cold, callous psychopath” and being diagnosed with a personality disorder, the English Defence League supporter was allowed out of prison early.

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Now, the mother of the girl attacked by Sleman almost 20 years ago has spoken out to blast the probation service.

The 52-year-old woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told The Daily Telegraph: “It just beggars belief that Sleman has been allowed to go on the run again. Surely after he breached the terms of his licence the first time he should never have been given another opportunity.

“My daughter has managed to rebuild her life over the past 20-years but then she hears about this and it brings it all back. She is terrified that he is going to come looking for her or that he will attack another little girl.

“Prison is not the right place for Sleman, he is mentally ill and should be in Broadmoor, but instead he is at large because the probation service is incapable of keeping an eye on him.

“When he first breached the terms of licence he disappeared in order to go to a nightclub. The probation worker said to me, ‘well he’s been inside for a long time so it’s understandable he wanted to go for a drink’. I was staggered.”

She added: “Every day that goes by increases the risk of his reoffending so he needs apprehending and fast.”

Sleman has spent almost 20 of his 42 years in prison for a wide range of violent and sexual offences.

In 1994 he entered a vicarage and kidnapped a ten-year-old girl after telling her there had been a burglary and her parents had said she should go with him.

He then took her to the caravan where he was living at the time, tied her up and subjected her to a sickening attempted rape over several hours.

In 2010, before his most recent release Sleman wrote an article for the prisoners’ newspaper, Inside Time, in which he complained that he was not given enough support when he was released on licence and that is why he reoffended.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Serious offenders on licence who live in Approved Premises are subject to strict licence conditions and are carefully supervised by specially trained staff.

“They must follow a structured regime, which includes an overnight curfew and can be recalled to prison if they breach them. Once recalled, it is a matter for the police to return them to custody."

Three months on police are still appealing for information to track down Sleman.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Mark Sleman is still at large and we are looking at different ways to track him down.

“We are continuing to search for him and are looking at widening the field to do this.”

It is understood this could involve some form of national appeal.

Anyone who knows the current whereabouts of Sleman or has seen him recently is asked to contact police on 101 quoting police reference DE/13/8408

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