Da Vinci rapist protest focuses on Kenny MacAskill

Protesters gathered outside the Scottish Parliament last week
Protesters gathered outside the Scottish Parliament last week
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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to remove the Da Vinci rapist have pledged to take their protest to the Justice Secretary’s own front door after he told them he could not intervene.

Protesters met with Kenny MacAskill at Holyrood to demand Robert Greens be rehomed outside of Midlothian, where he committed his horrific crime.

Mr MacAskill told those behind the campaign, which has amassed a 6500-strong following, that his hands were tied because all decisions about the management of Greens were for partner agency MAPPA, comprised of Midlothian Council, Lothian and Borders Police and NHS Lothian.

As the Scottish Parliament is now in recess, campaigners have warned that they will protest outside Mr MacAskill’s constituency office and home in an effort to keep the issue on the political front burner.

Protest organiser Kelly Parry said: “It’s rubbish for him to say he can’t intervene, he had no problem intervening in the Al Megrahi case but I guess this isn’t as glamorous for him.

“This is a social injustice. Where are the rights of the people of Midlothian in all of this? We don’t believe that Mr MacAskill’s hands are tied like he says and if we have to we’ll take our message to his constituency office and open surgeries, even his own home. We’ll see how he likes having it on his doorstep.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Protecting the public is our top priority, and every decision taken by agencies in the management of Greens has been taken with the protection of the public as the key consideration.

“Mr MacAskill was happy to meet protesters to hear their views. It also allowed him to clarify the legal position – that under the law, local agencies from Midlothian under MAPPA arrangements have a legal responsibility to manage Greens upon his release from prison because he is from Midlothian and ministers cannot intervene in such cases.”

Greens’ new home is just six miles from Rosslyn Chapel, where he brutally raped a 19-year-old Dutch student in 2005. He was jailed for ten years after what a judge described as “one of the worst cases of rape” ever dealt with at the High Court. He was dubbed the Da Vinci Code rapist as the chapel was featured in Dan Brown’s novel.

The protesters have already gathered a 1500-name petition demanding Greens is moved out and over the weekend continued their protest outside Greens’ home near Bonnyrigg.

Last week, campaigners were told that requests for a possible transfer of the convicted sex offender were sent to other councils in Scotland, England and Wales but every single authority asked refused to take him because of his high-profile offences and the publicity surrounding his re-housing.