Round-the-clock monitoring of Da Vinci Code rapist Robert Greens has been axed – because council bosses can’t afford it.
The move means Greens, 34, who brutally raped a teenage student, is now free to wander unsupervised during the day from his hostel on the edge of the New Town.
Monitoring has been cut back despite police saying he remains “a very serious risk” to the public and that the threat level he poses has not changed since his release from prison 11 weeks ago.
He had two social workers living with him 24 hours a day to ensure someone was “always awake” to monitor him until the funding was cut.
The withdrawal of supervision has been condemned as “incredible” by Rape Crisis Scotland, which said that women’s safety not “budgetary restrictions” should dictate monitoring levels.
Midlothian Council, which provides the social workers to supervise Greens suggested the downgrading had been a joint decision taken with Lothian and Borders Police and NHS Lothian under the Mappa (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) system for monitoring sex offenders.
Despite the cutbacks, Greens received a mobile phone for his personal use from Midlothian’s social work department.
It has also emerged that Greens, a diagnosed psychopath, continues to deny he raped his victim, telling social workers: “I’m not a beast.”
Under the new supervision structure, Greens, who was moved last month to a hostel in the New Town yards from a primary school, is under curfew from 8pm to 8am and wears an electronic tag.
Greens, jailed for the 2005 rape of a 19-year-old Dutch student near Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, also has a support worker from voluntary community justice group Sacro present with him overnight.
Previously, Greens was not allowed to leave home alone, and was under curfews from 8pm to 8am, and 1pm to 3pm, the maximum allowed by law.
Greens is now unsupervised during the day as he continues to mount a legal challenge to throw out a strict sexual offences prevention order (Sopo) imposed on him. Lawyers for Greens are fighting to revoke the order, claiming the restrictions are so prohibitive they breach his human rights.
The reduction in Greens’ supervision comes 81 days after his release from prison on January 27.
A Rape Crisis Scotland spokeswoman said: “It seems incredible to us that someone deemed such a high risk to women is released from prison in the first place. It is a cause for real concern if budgetary restrictions are determining the level of monitoring a sex offender receives. The priority must be the safety of women.”
Councillor Margot Russell, who sits on the police board for Midlothian, said: “When Greens was released from prison, part of that release was the 24/7 supervision.
“I’m greatly disturbed by the decision to remove such supervision based on budgets when it should be decided by what is safe for the community.
“Even with 24/7 supervision some people were still worried about their children, their wife, their daughter. Now that has been removed how much more frightened will people be?”
Midlothian Council released a statement on behalf of the Mappa member agencies. It read: “The local authority, police and health board have a statutory responsibility to manage sex offenders on their release from prison. In all cases partners work closely to share information to assess the risks and develop detailed and robust plans to manage these risks. Joint decisions around sex offenders are made by panels consisting of members from these agencies.
“There are robust processes and procedures in place to manage sex offenders, but we cannot comment on individual cases. We continue to work closely with our Mappa colleagues and public safety remains of paramount importance.”
Police said any response on the Greens’ case would be issued by Midlothian Council on behalf of Mappa members.
At Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Isabella McColl maintained an interim Sopo against Greens as he continues to seek Legal Aid to fund his action to overturn the order.
Andy McGlone, the solicitor representing Chief Constable David Strang, who made the Sopo request, said the reduced supervision made the Sopo even more necessary than before. He said: “[Greens] is at liberty to do essentially what he likes during the day.”
Mr McGlone told the court that the “round-the-clock monitoring” by social workers had been “significantly dropped for financial reasons, not because police considered him any less of a serious risk”.
Mr McGlone said that Greens “has been behaving”, and no breaches of his parole or the interim Sopo had been recorded, but “offender managers feel that risks are still present”.
He added: “They are trying to re-integrate him into the community. I’m told that it’s going well, but he still represents a very serious risk of sexual harm to the public”.
The court heard that Greens “will not discuss” raping the victim, admitting only that he sexually assaulted her and telling offender managers: “I’m not a beast.”
Mr McGlone said Greens’ engagement with rehabilitation services was irrelevant while he remained in denial despite “over-whelming DNA evidence” that he committed rape.
The solicitor added: “He minimises what he’s done. This is, in and of itself, poses serious problems in managing his risk to the public.
“An interim Sopo gives police the immediacy of arrest which is not afforded by his parole conditions.
“Police do not have a crystal ball, but based on past behaviour, intelligence from prison, and comments made by Robert Greens, he represents a very significant danger to the public.
“Until such time that he accepts the very serious nature of the crime he has been convicted of, he can only represent a serious sexual danger to the public.”
Greens’ solicitor, Tony Kelly, argued that the Sopo was unnecessary as the order “duplicated” much of the provisions of his client’s parole, with which he had complied so far.
He told the court: “The order cannot be granted because it is desirable in helping to monitor the behaviour, it has to be needed to protect the public from serious sexual harm.”
Sheriff McColl continued the interim Sopo under a hearing next month to allow the Legal Aid application to continue. She said: “Mr Greens continues to deny the nature of the sexual assault he was convicted of.
“He was convicted of a very serious offence with a very high level of violence.”
The interim Sopo forces Greens to give details of the calls he makes on a mobile phone, as well as its make and model, although he received a phone from social workers to use.
Other restrictions include not approaching children, prohibitions on travel, no internet access, having to notify the police of any change in his appearance, and being excluded from certain areas of Midlothian.T
Victim so badly hurt police thought she was hit by car
ROBERT Greens beat his teenage victim so badly that the first police officer on the scene thought she had been struck by a car.
Greens, then 28, spotted his victim as he drove along the deserted B7003 through Roslin Glen.
The 19-year-old Dutch student was walking to a friend’s house after getting lost and arriving at Rosslyn Chapel, which appeared in Dan Brown’s best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, at closing time.
Greens dragged the teenager down a steep embankment, threatened her with a knife, asked her if she was a virgin, then beat her in the face.
His victim was found by a passer-by who heard moaning. She was barely conscious and was so badly hurt that she could barely speak.
Keeping tabs on worst offenders
SEXUAL Offence Prevention Orders (Sopos) are taken out against the most dangerous individuals among the 600 registered sex offenders in the Lothians.
In November, it was revealed that 43 individuals were subject to Sopos, which impose strict limits on sex offenders’ movements and whom they can contact.
Police recorded 45 breaches of the orders between October 2008 and August last year.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) came into force in April 2007 to co-ordinate police, prison, health and council responses to dangerous offenders.
Regular home visits and interviews, by police, social workers and sometimes psychiatrists, are the main source of information.
A specialist offender management unit oversees the task of tracking the hundreds of offenders, the most dangerous are electronically tagged.
The specialist unit has mounted surveillance operations at parks, private homes and public toilets to ensure Sopos are not broken.
Sopos are the most rigorous orders which can be taken out under Mappa.
The 43 Sopos in the Lothians contained 183 separate prohibitions, with every offenders’ contact with children subject to control. Twenty-eight of the Sopos restricted where offenders can live, 28 where they could work, and 37 the public areas they could enter. The youngest recipient of a Sopo was 24, with the oldest aged 80.
FROM PRISON TO TROUBLED LIFE OUTSIDE
May 15, 2005: A 19-year-old student is raped on the Roslin to Rosewell road.
September 29, 2005: Greens appears at the High Court in Edinburgh to plead not guilty to rape.
December 22, 2005: Greens changes his plea to guilty.
April 10, 2006: Greens is jailed for ten years.
July 10, 2007: Greens wins right to appeal the length of his sentence.
September 12, 2007: Appeal rejected.
January 27, 2012: Greens released from prison after serving six years.
February 3, 2012: More than 100 people march on Midlothian Council’s head office to protest after Greens is housed in Dalkeith.
March 13, 2012: It is revealed that Greens has been rehoused in a New Town hostel.