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Child sex offender Raymond Warford on the run

A police manhunt is being stepped up this morning for a child sex offender on the run after giving prison officers the slip.
The notorious child sex offender is supposed to be held under strict supervision but is on the run after walking out the back door of a suburban cafe.
Raymond Warford, 36, one of the state's worst sex offenders, gave a prison escort the slip after telling him he needed to go to the toilet.
It was the second time Warford, who has a shocking history of child sexual abuse, has escaped custody.
He was being held on an extended supervision order at Ararat after his previous escape in 2007.
Warford's convictions include the abduction and rape of a child.
He committed his first sex offence when he was 18 and has several convictions for sexual penetration of a child and indecent acts with a child.
He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years' jail for child abduction and rape in 1994, but continued to offend after he was released.
Warford fled about 12.45pm yesterday after a medical appointment earlier in the day at the maximum security Thomas Embling Hospital for forensic mental health inmates at Fairfield.
He escaped during the return trip to Ararat after stopping for lunch with a prison officer escort at a cafe in Station St, Fairfield. Warford, who has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, told the escort he needed to go to the toilet but failed to return.
He escaped by simply walking out the back door and down a lane behind the cafe.
The Herald Sun believes there was a delay of about 15 minutes before the Corrections officer checked on Warford and found he had fled.
A warrant for Warford's arrest was signed by a magistrate late yesterday afternoon as a police manhunt swung into action.
Warford, who also uses the name Raymond Dean, is 172cm and 64kg with brown collar-length hair, fair complexion and green eyes. Police said last night he had a hesitant, mumbling voice but should not be approached.
He was wearing a black and tan leather-look jacket, faded grey jeans, a black T-shirt and black sneakers when last seen.
The last time Warford escaped he was recaptured at Crown casino 24 hours later.
On that occasion he fled with two other sex offenders after stealing a key to a locked unit at the Statewide Forensic Services Centre.
The trio later rang the centre soon after their escape to taunt staff about their getaway.
Warford was later sentenced to an additional three months' jail for breaching his extended supervision order.
His current order is believed to expire in 2016.
Sex offenders who have completed their sentence can be placed on an extended supervision order if a court considers they are still a threat to the community.
Corella Place, the compound outside Ararat Jail, houses about 25 released offenders on supervision orders.
Another 25 live in the community and are not monitored around the clock, although some wear ankle bracelets.
The child rapist who escaped from the Ararat compound in January walked away from the facility in the middle of the night.
He cut off his electronic ankle bracelet, but was arrested 57 hours later outside a country pub 40km from Ararat.
The Herald Sun later revealed that the prisoner had made more than $800 worth of calls to telephone sex lines from his unit inside the Ararat compound.
It was later revealed that notorious sex offender Brian Jones, better known as Mr Baldy, was not monitored inside his unit for 15 days after knocking a power plug out of the wall.

Herald Sun (18-3-2010)
Geoff Wilkinson



Prison For Sex Fiend

A child sex fiend who was on the run for 24 hours after breaking out of a secure centre has been jailed for three months.
Raymond Maxwell Warford, 33, and two other men stole a key and escaped from a locked unit at Statewide Forensic Services at Fairfield on January 10.
The escape sparked a manhunt ending in the trio being arrested the next day - Warford at Crown casino.
Warford pleaded guilty to breaching his extended supervision order.
He is only the second person to be punished for the offence.
Last month pedophile Kevin Thomas Briscoe, 64, was jailed for three months after he pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching his extended supervision order.
He broke the order by committing more crimes and breaking his curfew.
Chief Judge Michael Rozenes ordered that two months of Briscoe's sentence be served with a minimum two-year sentence he is serving for loitering near a playground and stealing children's underwear.
Yesterday, Judge Meryl Sexton said there was no suggestion that Warford committed any sex offences while on the run or that he left the centre for that purpose.
She said it seemed he wanted to go to the casino.
The judge said Warford's 24-hour escape was very serious, particularly as it was in the first year of a 10-year order.
The intellectually disabled Warford has been convicted of child rape and indecent assault on a child.

Herald Sun (3-3-2007)
Shelley Hodgson

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Sex Friends Find Ideal Spot For Breakout

Escape would have been a stroll in the park.
Despite housing sex predators, the Statewide Forensic Services centre is no Hannibal Lecter jail. Wire fences around its three residential zones belong on a backyard tennis court.
The cyclone wire is a bit over 3m high and wouldn't stop a determined kid retrieving a footy.
Behind it is Yarra Bend bush to slip into and quiet paths to ovals, playgrounds and a dozen public toilets.
Barriers at the hospital's front are temporary wire ones with gaps, and wouldn't keep a dog in.
Across a gravel laneway, the Thomas Embling Hospital is a grey metal fortress.
Tiny windows 5m up are so thick they'd stop a mortar.
The Thomas Embling is the showpiece, its low-security neighbour the poor relation.
A camera trained on that lane is half-blocked by shrubs growing inside the centre's cyclone fence.
Yesterday the porch outside reception had dead pot plants and a Harley-Davidson on it.
More than 12 hours into the hunt, there was nothing to alarm -- or inform -- locals and park users.
A minute's walk towards the nearest main road, children in whites belted cricket balls around.
The 260ha oasis -- half parks and sports grounds, half bush -- is a breath of fresh air in the suburbs, drawing 1.3 million each year, according to a notice board.
Yarra Bend Golf Club's car park has signs warning drivers to guard against thieves.
No signs warn of escaped inmates.
There is one road north out of the park, and that easy road to anywhere passes a last park sign: "Thank you for visiting."
It concludes with a wish that was last night realised: "Come Back Soon."

Herald Sun (12-1-2007)
Terry Brown

Trio's Awful History

A sexual predator who preyed on children and has spent most of his adult life behind bars was among three criminals recaptured yesterday after escaping from a state disability treatment centre on Wednesday night.
Raymond Warford, 32, had lived at the Disability State-wide treatment centre in Heidelberg since being placed there by a court order on his release from prison last April.
A suppression order forbidding the Herald Sun from publishing Warford's name was lifted late yesterday.
Described as a serial offender of children, Warford committed his first known sex crime at 18.
Warford, who has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, committed his most serious crime at the age of 20 when he abducted and raped a child.
He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, but continued to reoffend on his release.
In 2002 he was convicted on two counts of indecently assaulting a child, but was acquitted on a more serious charge of penetrating a child.
Judge Russell Lewis expressed his doubts at the time over Warford's chances of rehabilitation.
"I hold grave concerns that you will reoffend when released from prison," he said. "He has a deep-seated problem."
Melbourne University forensic psychologist Dr Lyn Eggleston outlined similar concerns at a hearing on Warford's release last year.
"He continues to be at high risk of sexual offending against children," she said.
Mr A, the second escapee, who cannot be named, has walked away from State Forensic Services before, with devastating results.
In 2001, while a voluntary patient, he left the Fairfield centre, rejecting a staff member's call for him to return.
"I'm in trouble now, so I'm just going to make things worse for myself," he allegedly replied.
Mr A, 20 at the time, then travelled to Macleod. It was there that a girl, aged five, left her mother's side briefly at a gym to put a banana peel in a rubbish bin.
Mr A grabbed the child, dragged her into a secluded stairway then stripped and sexually assaulted her.
He was arrested by police the next day and later sentenced in the County Court to a minimum 18 months in prison over the gymnasium attack.
Police told an earlier court hearing he had been interviewed by sexual crime squad detectives over incidents in which he allegedly loitered around children's athletics meetings and primary schools in Abbotsford and Collingwood.
They also alleged he had "absconded two or three other times" from Statewide Forensic Services.
County Court Judge Michael Higgins described Mr A's case as one of the most tragic he'd seen in 13 years on the bench.
He said the sex offender had a horrific childhood history of sadistic abuse at the hands of his father.
A psychiatrist assessed Mr A as a remorseless sex offender who was beyond rehabilitation.
The five-year-old victim's father spoke after the sentencing of his anger that Mr A had been able to walk the streets.
"No child is safe from this guy," he said.
"They are going to give him back to the people who let him out to attack our daughter."
In 2003, Mr A, then regarded as one of the state's worst young pedophiles, confessed to more sex crimes, as part of his intensive rehabilitation program.
He walked into a police station and told detectives he wanted to admit to other offences that he had kept secret for several years.
Mr A allegedly told sexual crime squad detectives: "This has been a secret for five years. It is part of my treatment to tell things about what I've done."
The convicted child sex offender, who has a mild intellectual disability, later pleaded guilty to five charges over two sex attacks on a three-year-old boy.
County Court Judge John Smallwood in February, 2005, ordered Mr A continue treatment and stay in custody for another five years.
The third man, Robert Hogan, 18, is having treatment after spending time in prison for a shocking child sex offence. Herald Sun (12-1-2007)
Wayne Flower/ Mark Buttler/ Elissa Hunt

Response Too Slow, Admits Pike

Authorities were slow to react to the escape of three intellectually disabled child sex offenders, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said today.
Raymond Maxwell Warford, 32, Robert Hogan, 18, and a 24-year-old man whose name has been suppressed, were caught by police in Melbourne's CBD just before 8pm yesterday, 19 hours after they escaped from the Statewide Forensic Service unit in Fairfield.
The trio had used a stolen key to escape from the unit.
It took the Department of Human Services almost 13 hours to go public about the breakout, sparking criticism from the opposition and the state's police union.
Ms Pike today said she had ordered DHS to review and tighten protocols between the department and police to deal with an escape, and to explain how this one happened .
"I think that what has emerged for me as the minister responsible at this point in time for this issue, is that protocols between the people in the facility, which is run by the Department of Human Services, and the police were not as clear as they could have been," she told ABC Radio today.
"I have certainly asked for a full and detailed account of what happened, how they got those keys in the first place - that's obviously totally inappropriate - lax security and then, of course, what the legal standing for each one of these individuals was so they could be dealt with more appropriately."
Suppression orders initially were in place for two of the escapees, preventing police and media outlets from identifying them, she said.
An order was lifted on one of the men yesterday.
Ms Pike said nearby residents and the public had a right to be angry about the delay in announcing the escape.
She said she hoped practices at the unit would be improved following the review.
"I absolutely acknowledge that there has been some confusion here and a lack of clarity around protocols between the different authorities ... and it is my responsibility to get to the bottom of that and to try and improve that," she said.
"I would hope (practices would be improved) and I think the public has a right to feel concerned in any of these situations.
"I fully understand it. I am a mother myself and I know just how frightening this is for people."
Shadow Attorney-General Andrew McIntosh said the Bracks Government had put the safety of Victorians at risk.
A Statewide Forensic Services employee told the Herald Sun inmates had too much freedom: "They've got more rights than us normal . . . people who don't do anything wrong."
The Department of Human Services did not go public about the runaways for almost 12 hours. Police Association secretary Paul Mullett said making public identifications as early as possible was a basic investigative tool.
"It all seems a bit bizarre. They're all of adult age," he said.
The intellectually disabled trio have all completed jail terms.
Warford, who began offending at 14 and committed his first sex crime at 18, has a conviction for raping and abducting a child. In 2002 he was convicted of two counts of indecent assault of a child.
Hogan, who had served time over molesting a child, was at Statewide Forensic Services as part of his parole conditions.
The third man, a voluntary patient, sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl within hours of walking out of Statewide Forensic Services in 2001.
Before their capture, Det-Supt Graeme Collins said police were concerned for the welfare of the men and of the public.
"We certainly have fears they could reoffend," he said.
Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said she understood public concern, but refused to detail the men's criminal pasts.
She said she did not have the authority to release their names and photos, saying suppression and court orders prevented it.
"These people have previously committed a crime; they are undergoing long-term intensive treatment but are not currently (serving a) sentence," she said.
"It really is a matter for the police and the courts to determine the level of risk, and of course the information will be made available to the public if that's deemed appropriate."
Mr McIntosh asked: "Why did it take 12 hours for the Government and the police to come clean about this escape?
"The community has a right to be informed unless there are good reasons why not," he said.
"The community should not remain ignorant about this."
Department of Human Services spokesman Graeme Walker said the delay in giving the police the power to detain the men came about because of a series of legal matters that had to be clarified, including whether they could be identified and that they were not sentenced prisoners. Because they were not serving sentences, they were not escapees.
The Herald Sun yesterday made urgent applications to the Supreme and County Courts to overturn the ban on identifying the men. Both courts refused to hear the case.
Department of Human Services executive director of disability services Arthur Rodgers said a security upgrade had been done last year and a full inquiry would be held into the escape.
Ms Pike said: "This is a secure unit and the expectation is that people will be kept in a secure environment."

AAP (12-1-2007)

Residents Kept In Dark

Anxious Clifton Hill residents are outraged they were not told three dangerous sex offenders had escaped into their neighbourhood.
The Department of Human Services waited 12 hours to alert the media to the danger, but even then families with young children living near the Statewide Forensic Services hospital were not informed.
When the Herald Sun visited the area yesterday afternoon, households overlooking the centre and surrounding parkland were shocked to be told of the escape.
Lisa Utting said she was disappointed but not surprised DHS staff and police had been searching for more than 14 hours but failed to tell residents.
She said neighbours had grown used to hearing rumours of escapees roaming the area, but were sick of not being informed by authorities.
"We hear about it through the community network but we are never officially notified and we may read something in the newspaper," she said.
"Generally, if you hear a helicopter you will hear a day or two later that someone had escaped. But that is normally through parents who have children of school age."
Several residents said they had grown alert to dangers since the 1998 stabbing death of a cyclist in the park separating their homes and the hospital by a psychiatric patient who was not a resident of the forensic hospital.
Northcote resident Matthew David Vennix was later cleared of murder over the incident on the grounds of insanity.
A coroner later said the cyclist would still be alive if Mr Vennix had been admitted to hospital.
"Ever since that guy got stabbed, if you see somebody walking without a dog you are always suspicious," Ms Utting said.
"If you have a dog or a child you are all right, but if you are on your own you keep away."
Ros McCully feared for five-year-old son Ethan and eight-year-old daughter Adeline, as well as dozens of children who used play equipment in parkland neighbouring the centre each day.
"I think we should be notified about that even if it is just through the news, as long as we are notified," Mrs McCully said.
"You'd hope that if somebody has escaped they are not going to be in this area, and they have probably scooted, but it would still be nice to know so you could keep an eye out."

Herald Sun (12-1-2007)
Grant McArthur

Sex Laws Hinder Police

The State Government and the Department of Human Services hid behind a complex web of legal loopholes for almost a day after three dangerous sex offenders escaped.
Further, police were hamstrung by the same laws, unable to arrest the trio even if they had caught them fleeing.
The bizarre circumstances surrounding the men's legal status emerged after almost 24 hours of government and bureaucratic buck-passing.
As pressure to release the identities of the men mounted, the Government and the department gave a variety of excuses about why the information should remain secret.
One of the three, Robert Hogan, 18, was on a parole order and could not be apprehended until his parole officer could be found and declare his parole had been breached.
The second, a 24-year-old, was theoretically a voluntary patient at the hospital after being signed in by a guardian and his legal status was unclear.
The third, 32-year-old Raymond Warford, is one of the state's most serious sex offenders and police could have arrested him if they had found him.
The three escaped about 10.30pm Wednesday, but departmental officials did not advise Health Minister Bronwyn Pike until 9am yesterday.
Ms Pike, who defended the DHS at an 11am media conference, last night appeared to change her view, demanding answers from the department about the accuracy of the briefing she received.
Authorities put the privacy of the criminals ahead of community safety all day, citing a series of laws that they claimed prevented Victorians being warned of who the men were.
The Herald Sun obtained the men's names and criminal histories from independent sources and later informed the Government of those details.
One of Ms Pike's senior staff members said it would be "irresponsible" of the paper to publish those details -- just hours before police released Worford's name and photograph.
Ms Pike had earlier deflected blame for the secrecy surrounding the men's identities from the DHS to Victoria Police.
"It really is a matter for the police and the courts to actually determine the level of risk," she said.
"These are matters that the police and the courts most appropriately deal with."

Herald Sun (12-1-2007)
Ellen Whinnett/ Jacqueline Freegard

Security Centre One Of Worst

A whistleblower at Statewide Forensic Services claims the centre is one of the worst in the state.
Despite fearing she could lose her job, the woman said she was disgusted by poor security at the supposedly high security centre and wanted the public to know.
"This facility is one of the worst in the state," the worker said.
"They give them free access to the community.
"One of them has broken out of the joint three times now and six years ago he sexually assaulted a little girl.
"These are pedophiles.
"(The escapees) are all child sex offenders.
"We take them to the movies, we've got them around kids 24/7 out in the community.
"They've got more rights -- you wouldn't believe -- than us normal people who don't do anything wrong.
"All they've got to do is jump the fence.
"It's a mesh fence, it's not secure at all -- and for young guys who can climb, it's easy."
The hospital shares the Fairfield site with the 100-bed Thomas Embling Hospital, the state's highest security centre for the criminally insane.
Last year's state Budget promised $21.1 million to expand the Thomas Embling Hospital and, despite Health Minister Bronwyn Pike yesterday boasting of the centre's improved security, this week's escapes are just the latest in a long history of incidents.
Last November Thomas Embling patient Robert Debruyn -- who stabbed his mother 57 times -- was found asleep on a Southbank bench after spending nine days on the run.
He had escaped after being granted day release despite having already escaped four times.
Even federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has suffered personally at the centre -- he was punched in the face and kicked by a patient while visiting the hospital last February.
A mother who was cleared of attempted murder because she was mentally impaired when she severed her toddler son's leg with an axe, had to be moved out of Thomas Embling last October because of a shortage of beds.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, the woman was later returned after relapsing and hearing voices.
Former world boxing champ Lester Ellis spent time at the hospital after a clash with police and two suicide bids.
In April last year, Paul Notas was given a nominal term of 25 years at Thomas Embling after being found not guilty, on the basis of mental impairment, of murdering his mother and arson.
He had told police he had to burn his mother because she was a witch possessed by the devil.
At least nine inmates, most of them with a history of violent crime, escaped while on leave between March 2000 and March 2001.

Herald Sun (12-1-2007)
Grant McArthur/ Annalise Walliker

Escaped Child Sex Offenders Captured

Police have recaptured three intellectually disabled child sex offenders who fled a secure rehabilitation facility in Melbourne using a stolen key.
The men, aged 18, 25 and 32, escaped from the Statewide Forensic Service facility at Fairfield, in Melbourne's north-east, at 10.30pm (AEDT) yesterday.
Victoria Police said the trio was recaptured in Melbourne's CBD just before 8pm today.
The men, who all have prior criminal convictions for child sex offences, have been taken to the St Kilda Road police complex.

AAP (11-1-2007)

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