Sexual harassment victim given fresh hope

A WOMAN fighting to prevent a sex offender living next door to her on his release from prison has been offered new hope, thanks to Richmond MP Rishi Sunak.

Mandy Dunford, 55, of Chopgate, near Stokesley, has been fighting a long battle to ensure a neighbour who was convicted of sexually harassing her should not be able to return to his home within yards of her front door.

The neighbour, Ken Ward, was jailed for five years for sex offences in 2011 but a Sexual Offences Prevention Order will allow him to return to his home next door to Ms Dunford.

She has previously unsuccessfully tried to get the order changed to keep Ward away. Now following the intervention of Mr Sunak, her quest may now succeed.

Mr Sunak said that following a meeting he organised last week with the UK’s top law officer, Attorney General Jeremy Wright, he was now more confident the order could be challenged.

He had also spoken to North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan and the county’s Assistant Chief Constable Ken McIntosh to press Ms Dunford’s case.

Mr Sunak said: “I am pleased to say that Mr McIntosh has now agreed to initiate the process that should bring this matter back to court and hopefully result in this wholly inappropriate order being changed.

“Perhaps then Ms Dunford can finally enjoy some peace of mind, content in the knowledge that she is no longer at risk of being threatened in her own home.”

Mr Sunak said his meeting with the Attorney General in which they reviewed the details of the case had been been crucial in making progress.

“Mr Wright listened very carefully to the points I made on Ms Dunford’s behalf and offered some useful advice on how to take the matter forward,” Mr Sunak said. “I am grateful to Mr Wright, Ms Mulligan and Mr McIntosh for their help.”

Mr Sunak was contacted by Ms Dunford shortly after his election last year. Initially, he obtained transcripts of the orginal hearing in which Mr Ward was convicted and the Sexual Offences Prevention Order made. He then sought counsel’s advice on the matter which led to last week’s meeting with the Attorney General.