POLICE do not believe an investigation is needed into how a paedophile was able to attack a child while on bail for rape.
7 APRIL 2016 | BY Christine Sexton FOR ECHO NEWS
Stephen Partridge was on bail on suspicion of raping a teenager in Folkestone when he targeted a nine-year-old girl and attempted to rape her in a Westcliff alleyway in 2014.
He was jailed for eight years last year after admitting the Westcliff attack, and had six years added to his sentence last week after being found guilty of the earlier rape.
Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for public safety, and Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, have since called for answers as to how Partridge was free to move from Folkestone to Southend without being monitored – particularly as he had previous convictions for sexual activity with underage children.
The Echo revealed yesterday Mr Terry wrote a letter to the office of the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner and to Kent and Essex police forces demanding answers.
Essex Police has defended its handling of Partridge, claiming there is no need for an inquiry.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm receipt of a letter from councillor Terry and will reply to him directly.
“Steven Partridge was jailed for eight years in March 2015 for a vile crime which put his victim through a traumatic experience.
“Our work took Partridge off the streets and the community is protected from him for a long time. We do not believe there are grounds to refer the actions of the force for further investigation.”
Kent Police, which granted police bail to Partridge while the rape inquiry was ongoing, said a subsequent investigation had cleared the force of any wrongdoing.
A spokesman said: “Kent Police can confirm that the force received a letter in relation to Steven Partridge who is currently serving a prison sentence for sexual offences.
A review of the circumstances surrounding the case was undertaken by the force’s Professional Standards Department in November 2014.
“It was concluded that there were no case of misconduct by any officer who dealt with the enquiry.
“Following receipt of the letter Professional Standards are reviewing the content and will respond in due course.”
Mr Terry, who is standing as an independent Essex Police and Crime Commissioner candidate in May’s election, told the Echo yesterday the council would normally be informed if someone on the sex offenders register moved to the area.
Prior to the Folkestone rape in August 2014, Partridge had previously been convicted of sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl in 2007, and engaging in sexual activity with a 10-year-old girl when he was 15.
The sickening assault in Park Lane, Westcliff, took place in November 2014.