THE VICTIM of a paedophile has spoken of his anger after discovering his abuser had been homed with vulnerable people – near a nursery and opposite children’s play equipment.

Predator John Dowds was sentenced to three years in 2019 after threatening to cut off a little girl’s head so he could sexually abuse her. He was found guilty of three counts of historic sexual abuse in Brighton involving a boy and a girl.

Following his release, Dowds was placed in a notorious temporary accommodation block in Newhaven called Kendal Court earlier this year.

The accommodation in Railway Road houses some of Brighton and Hove’s most vulnerable people, including victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Windows in the block overlook children’s play equipment – including swings – and the building is about 160 meters away from a nursery.

Dowds has now been moved out of Kendal Court in Newhaven

Dowds has now been moved out of Kendal Court in Newhaven

Dowds was revealed to be living at Kendal Court after he was allegedly attacked outside a nursery, a two-minute walk from the building. Dowds has now been relocated for his own safety and is no longer living at Kendal Court.

One of Dowd’s victims, who was only four years old when he was abused, has spoken of his shock and anger after discovering the predator was being housed in the court.

He agreed to waive his automatic right to anonymity. However, The Argus has decided to keep him anonymous.

He said: “The authorities don’t think he’s a danger to the public. The victims know him more. He is a complete danger and we need to strengthen policies.

“I’m calling for more stringent measures. People who live in this building should know who is going in and out of them.

“I have a real fear of bumping into him. I don’t live with shame anymore or anything like that.

“It’s not like I’m scared of him, I had to go to court and tell him what actually happened. That dealt with that.”

Dowds, then 56, was found guilty of three counts of historic sexual abuse in Brighton in 2019.

John Dowds threatened to cut off a little girl’s head so he could sexually abuse her.

John Dowds threatened to cut off a little girl’s head so he could sexually abuse her.

The predator committed three indecent assaults on a boy and a girl in the 1980s.

He gained favour with the children’s families, groomed the boy with offers of sweets, and threatened the girl.

His victim said he was given the impression Dowds had been placed outside of Sussex.

He said: “I went for a walk down Brighton Marina and I can see myself walking and looking around looking to see if I could see him.

“It just makes me want to stay in the house. I’m pretty much housebound anyway because of the situation, but this just makes it worse.

“The other victims have kids themselves now, I don’t have children, but the other victims do. I would never want to come up to that situation, where they come face-to-face with that.”

Sex offenders released on licence are subject to licence conditions.

These may include exclusion zones, non-contact orders preventing them contacting victims and their families, curfews, safeguards to prevent contact with children, restrictions on internet use, electronic monitoring and compliance with behaviour treatment programmes.

The victim said he pleaded with the probation service that Dowds, who is not allowed in Brighton, be placed on a GPS tag.

He said: “He’s considered the lowest level of sexual offender, so there’s no tag or anything like that, which would have helped the situation.

“I’m calling for them to be GPS tagged – especially if they’re on licence.

“He is still serving his sentence, that would be the absolute minimum.”

A spokesman for the Probation Service and Sussex police, which work together to supervise offenders, said: “Offenders who leave prison without somewhere to stay are about 50 per cent more likely to reoffend.

“Those released on licence are closely monitored and subject to strict conditions which can see them returned to prison if they break these.”

All high risk offenders released on licence, the probation service said, are managed under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

Through these plans, the police, probation, the prison service, and other agencies work together to “keep the public safe”.

Attacked outside a nursery

A MAN who says he attacked paedophile John Dowds outside of a nursery has told The Argus that he feels no remorse for his actions.

Jason Moffett, 41, said he spotted the convicted sex offender near a nursery in Railway Road, Newhaven, and thought he saw him filming on a phone.

However, Sussex Police have said there is no evidence that Dowds was committing an offence at the time.

Mr Moffett said: “I came up Railway Road just before the car wash building site on the left.

“I was on the opposite side of the road.

“I saw him and I just lost the plot – I gave him a hiding.”

Mr Moffett said he was pulled off of Dowds by builders working nearby.

“He ran off screaming for his life,” said Mr Moffett.

“Next thing I know the police turned up.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “There is no evidence of the man having committed any current or recent offence.

“Staff at a day nursery in Newhaven have been reassured that despite inaccurate and ill-informed social media gossip there is no threat or risk to any children attending the nursery and no evidence of any offences being committed in relation to or against the nursery or anyone attending it.”

The spokesman added they are investigating an assault on a man in his late fifties.

“No arrests have been made at this stage but lines of enquiry are being followed in relation to the assault,” he said.

The nursery was contacted for comment.

Civic leader calls for action

A DISTRICT leader is calling for action after paedophile John Dowds was found to have been placed in Kendal Court

Councillor James MacCleary, leader of Lewes District Council, said vulnerable people were being put at risk of harm.

Dowds has now been relocated away from Kendal Court.

Councillor James MacCleary

Councillor James MacCleary

Cllr MacCleary said: “We have engaged with Brighton and Hove City Council, and continue to do so, so that a solution can be found urgently – children are being put at risk.

“I think there needs to be an understanding from Brighton and Hove City Council that Kendal Court is not sustainable. It is clearly not appropriate to be placing people in there with a history of severe sexual offences and violence against women.

“There are people in Kendal Court who are victims, including vulnerable women who need to be put in a safer environment. Everybody is being failed.”

An independent review of the support needs of residents living in Kendal Court was commissioned in 2018.

At the time, the court composed of 50 flats, 14 were vacant, three were reserved and 33 were occupied.

The review interviewed residents to see what should be changed at the court to improve the lives of its residents.

A single mother, who was placed in the building with her toddler, said it was “not a suitable environment for children to be placed”.

The report added: “There is a sense from some residents that individuals are dumped at Kendal Court and forgotten.

“The four deaths at KC over the year was mentioned by most residents interviewed.”

A council spokesman said: “When councils have a legal duty to offer accommodation to people, we always follow established national guidelines.

“We follow Multi Agency Public Protection Protocols working with police, probation and other services.

“Councils cannot comment on individual cases or divulge personal information about the people they accommodate.”

A further statement on behalf of the MAPPA partners in Sussex stated: "Any address in the community where such an offender may reside is also assessed by MAPPA agencies for potential risk posed by the offender to any individual or groups in that community, or potential risk posed to the offender.

"This assessment is subject to review if the situation changes at any point. MAPPA panels also consider the need to make disclosures to relevant parties in the community following a comprehensive risk assessment of each case.

"We strongly advise against public identification of premises at which convicted offenders of any type may reside from time to time.

"Experience across the country is that this achieves nothing for public safety and merely encourages ill-informed and inflammatory comment, and, in some cases, has resulted in criminal activity.

"Securing stable accommodation for offenders supports our safe and effective management of them. Identifying individuals and/or locations where they are housed may also mean that we need to move individuals to locations where their risk is harder to manage.

"We do not discuss individual cases of convicted sex offenders supervised in the community or locations at which they may reside.

"There are currently 2288 MAPPA offenders being managed in Sussex, almost all are registered sex offenders. 1799 are being managed in the community, the remainder are in prison."

ARGUS COMMENT: Why we named Kendal Court

KENDAL court has come up again and again in the more tragic stories we cover at The Argus. Residents have told us it is “worse than jail”. At least eight people who were living at Kendal Court have died in the last four years. The conditions at the building are not necessarily to blame for those deaths.

Dowds has now been moved out of Kendal Court in Newhaven

Dowds has now been moved out of Kendal Court in Newhaven

The building provides a service which is crucial, emergency housing for those in desperate need who will hopefully to be moved on to somewhere more homely and more permanent. The problem is that Kendal Court is the wrong place for most of those people. Yes, many of them should be, and probably are, relieved to have a roof over their heads. But if you walk down Railway Road there are nice family homes and a lovely looking, smart pub. New business premises are providing a great base at the far end, hopefully with access to the best beach in the area, where children can play in the shallows.

The people providing support for those who end up at Kendal Court have a very difficult job. The police do too. But it will have been made easier and the local residents will be happier knowing John Dowds has been moved elsewhere. Parents have criticised the facilities and Kendal Court in the past. They will not have been happy with Dowds being there.