A convicted Leeds paedophile has won a landmark ruling as the first in the UK to have his name struck from the sex offenders’ register.
George St Angeli, 71, was jailed for five years at Liverpool Crown Court in 1993 for sex offences against two young girls.
He was released on parole in May 1996 and signed onto the Sex Offenders Register in September 1997.
But last week at Leeds Magistrates Court he became the first person in England to win the right to have his name removed from the register.
St Angeli is now free to roam wherever he likes, with police, who opposed the appeal, no longer able to track his moves.
St Angeli, who had previously served in the military as a warrant officer, applied to be removed from the register in September last year, but West Yorkshire Police refused.
During the course of the appeal hearing, St Angeli told the court that as part of his registration, he was visited once a year where police checked his circumstances were the same.
Andrew Garthwaite, for West Yorkshire Police, the respondents to the appeal, told the court that St Angeli was 51 when he was convicted of offences against two under age girls in 1992.
One of the girls had been just nine-years-old when St Angeli’s offending started, and the crime continued over a five or six-year period, he said.
West Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Superintendent David Knopwood, said St Agneli should remain on the register in view of how old he was when he was convicted of sex offences on children, and that he now lives alone, has a car and is mobile.
In February 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that rapists and paedophiles must have the right to appeal to be removed from the national sex offenders’ register if they have been released from prison for 15 years or more and can prove they are no longer a threat to children.
It was a ruling which at the time sparked national outrage with PM David Cameron saying he was “appalled”.
District Judge Christopher Darnton told St Angeli: “I am satisfied that the order has now served its purpose and I cannot see any benefit in it remaining.
“If the order is not removed in this case in what cases would it be removed?
“Because [Mr St Angeli] fits the conditions just about in every single regard.”
St Angeli, who told the court he and his wife are still married but live apart, said after the judgment: “Obviously I am relieved.
“This will give me the freedom to travel if I need to, to go on holiday with my wife.
“It will give me peace of mind that my name won’t keep coming up on the register.
“It’s a great weight off my shoulders.”