UK mother charged after warning neighbours about paedophile living on their street

Claire Varin used Sarah's Law to find out whether a suspicious neighbour was a registered sex offender.
Claire Varin used Sarah's Law to find out whether a suspicious neighbour was a registered sex offender. Photo credit: Facebook

A mother in the UK was charged with data protection offences after she revealed the identity of a paedophile who had moved to the neighbourhood.

Claire Varin became suspicious of her new neighbour, a man in his thirties called Tom, after witnessing bizarre interactions between him and her young daughter. 

After moving to the street in 2017, Tom introduced himself to Varin's family as a trainee barrister and allegedly began talking to Varin's 8 and 12-year-old daughters.

The next day Tom allegedly came to their home again and asked if the 8-year-old wanted to go berry-picking with him. Although Varin's husband, Sam, declined the offer, Tom showed up again the day after with a box of berries for the daughter, Metro reports.

Varin grew increasingly uncomfortable with Tom's forward behaviour. She contacted police, using the UK child sex offender disclosure scheme, Sarah's Law,  to confirm whether the new resident was a registered sex offender.

Months later, police confirmed the man was a convicted paedophile. He had been jailed for eight months for having 97 films of child abuse on his laptop, according to Metro.

As part of the conditions surrounding Sarah's Law, Varin signed a non-disclosure form. The agreement meant she was legally prohibited from informing her neighbours.

Varin ignored the terms of the agreement and told neighbours about his conviction.

She reportedly believed informing nearby residents was the right thing to do so they could protect their children.

Sam, enraged at the discovery, confronted the sex offender twice, landing him with two warnings for making threats. The second confrontation stemmed from the paedophile using sign language to interact with their deaf older daughter, Metro reports.

Varin was charged under the Data Protection Act, pleading not guilty to recklessly disclosing personal data. The charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Sarah's Law was implemented after the abduction and murder of 8-year-old Sarah Payne by paedophile Roy Whiting. Sarah's parents campaigned for the law change so other parents can find out if a child sex offender is living in their neighbourhood.


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