Convicted rapist declared 'safe' eight months before murdering girl

A convicted rapist sexually assaulted and murdered a teenage girl only months after he had been downgraded to the lowest risk level by public protection officials.

Michael Clark, 40, who had a 20-year background of violent and sexual offending and had been jailed for raping a woman he met in a nightclub in 1991, was released from prison in November 2006 and categorised at the highest level of threat to the public.

However in early 2007 that risk was reassessed and Clark was reduced to the lowest level - meaning he was under less supervision by probation officers and police at his new home in Leeds.

Eight months later Clark killed his neighbour's daughter, Zuzanna Zommer, sexually assaulting the 14-year-old before stabbing her in the stomach, fracturing her skull by stamping on her head and slitting her throat.

The shocking blunder by a public protection panel in Leeds - made up of police, probation officers and local authorities - was exposed in new documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

They also revealed that Leeds Council did not find out that Clark was considered "very high risk" until they had already processed his housing application.

An internal report written by council officer Tom Wiltshire, says prison and probation officers in Hull believed Clark was a "very high risk level 3" offender before his release. "This information was not shared with Leeds City Council prior to the homeless decision being reached," the report says.

"It is recognised that initial internal checks on his housing history and on his offending background failed to secure all the information necessary about potential risks posed."

Convicted rapist declared 'safe' months before he murdered teenager (Daily Telegraph, 13 August 208)