A wave of anti-paedophile vigilante action swept Britain in the weeks following Sarah's murder.

Crowds of angry protesters gathered outside the homes of convicted paedophiles - and, in one case, an unfortunate paediatrician.

Police condemned the action, saying offenders who had served their sentences but remained on the sex offenders' register were being driven underground.

The News of the World newspaper took up a campaign for what it called Sarah's Law - legislation to make the addresses of convicted child abusers publicly available.

The paper began to publish the names and details of registered paedophiles.

However, it relented after two weeks in the wake of condemnation from the police, the probation service and the Home Office.

The U-turn followed a number of vigilante attacks on alleged offenders and one innocent man mistakenly identified as a paedophile.

Police said allowing members of the public access to the information would encourage vigilante action.

Ministers reacting to the case promised the Sexual Offenders Act would be toughened up.

New measures would ban offenders from contacting their victims after release and register requirements were to be tightened, with the jail penalty for non-compliance increased from six-months to five years.

Stricter measures were also proposed to prevent sex offenders working with children, making it a criminal offence for them to apply for posts.

December 12, 2001