A PREDATORY paedophile jailed for seven years last week could be back on the streets before Christmas. Daniel Fullerton (33) was branded a ” significant risk to the public ” after a court heard how he climbed into a North Belfast house and sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl as she slept.
However, The Irish News has established that because he has already served more than three years on remand he will be eligible for release on December 15 after having completed half his sentence. Last night police were criticised for refusing to release a photograph of Fullerton to the public. A spokesman said : ” The PSNI do not routinely issue photographs of convicted persons. ” Police must operate within a framework of national guidelines and when making a decision must give consideration to the application of the Human Rights Act “. The spokesman said pictures are released only ” If there is a valid reason to, for example investigative reasons or if there has been significant interest in a case. A Sunday newspaper has already published its own picture of Fullerton.
Stormont health committee chairwomen Sue Ramsey, a Sinn Fein MLA, said she had ” concerns ” about the PSNI’s refusal to release a photo. ” If he is convicted and the judge hasn’t made any judgement against releasing his photo then why not release it ? Why not let people know ?” she asked. ” I would have concerns about the Human Rights Act being cited in this way. ” They have no problems with releasing photos of people they think are rioters.” A spokesman said in a statement ” Following the conviction of an offender at court, official police photographs can be released to the media on the authority of the senior investigating officer if there is a valid reason to do so, for example investigative reasons or if there has been significant interest in a case.
” He can walk away from prison – that child will still be suffering from that heinous crime ” – Helena Bracken.
Early on June 3 2009, Fullerton climbed through the open window of a house in North Belfast and made himself a cheese and ham sandwich before sneaking into the little girl’s bedroom. She awoke to find him sexually assaulting her and she ran to her sleeping parents to raise the alarm, by which time Fullerton had left the house. Crime scene investigators uncovered his fingerprints on the window and his DNA on the nine-year-old girl. He later pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one of burglary. Judge Tom Burgess warned that he will only be set free if it was assessed as safe to do so and there would be conditions on his release. Fullerton will serve a further three years on licence and must sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life. The judge also imposed a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order barring him from contacting his victim or her family, having unsupervised contact with children being on licensed premises, associating with other sex offenders or from loitering near ” child-centred facilities “.
However, the prospect of Fullerton’s return to the streets so soon has led victims charities to warn the public will not believe that the punishment fits the crime. Helena Bracken, regional director of sex abuse support network Nexus Institute, said his victim will be dealing with what happened for decades to come. ” He can walk away from prison – that child will still be suffering from that heinous crime,” she said. ” The home should represent a place of safety and that’s been shattered for her by a stranger coming into her home and her bedroom.” Ms Bracken said were Fullerton to serve just three-and-a-half years the sentence would not represent a deterrent to others. ” It’s not good enough,” she said. ” Most sane people would raise their eyes and think why bother ? ” The punishment must reflect the crime. We can’t even begin to imagine the trauma for this child which will manifest itself in 10 or 20 years time.”
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : BIMPE ARCHER, IRISH NEWS.
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