The West

Sex offender moved on

Authorities have refused to reveal where a dangerous rapist will be housed next after residents of a Wheatbelt town won their fight to have him removed from their community.

Patrick Alfred Dennis Comeagain was picked up from his home by police and Department of Corrective Services staff about 10am yesterday and is being temporarily housed somewhere in Perth until a permanent home can be found elsewhere in WA.

DCS Commissioner James McMahon said his department had to act after growing pressure from angry residents, some of whom had left town out of fear, and concerns for Comeagain's safety after vigilante-style threats on social media.

"His situation on the ground has become untenable, unsustainable and unstable for all parties concerned," Mr McMahon said.

The name of the town where he was living has been suppressed by the courts.

Residents found out that he was in their community only after Comeagain's fiancee, whom he met while in jail, told her neighbours about the living arrangements.

Word spread quickly through the community, sparking widespread fear that Comeagain could strike again.

One resident said Comeagain's removal had brought instant relief to the town, but she felt sorry for the next community that would have to have him. "They have moved the problem but all they are doing is moving him somewhere else and, like us, they will not get a warning," she said.

Mr McMahon conceded if there was a similar backlash from the next community, Comeagain would be moved again. "It may happen again - we will move him again," he said. "I need to find him an appropriate and stable area for all parties concerned."

Comeagain's history of sexual offending began in 1987. In 1994, he was jailed for 10 years for an attack on a nine-year-old girl. And in 1999 - just weeks after his release from jail - he attacked two women in their homes.

He is one of more than 20 dangerous sex offenders who are living under strict supervision in the community.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said yesterday he would prefer that offenders such as Comeagain were in future placed in the metropolitan area instead of remote communities with limited police resources.

The town where Comeagain had been living was about 30km from the nearest police station.

Living nearby were young families, some whose husbands and fathers worked away for long periods.

Despite the vigilante threat, Police Minister Liza Harvey gave an assurance yesterday Come- again would be placed on the on-line sex offender register and residents could use the internet to check whether he was living near them.

The West Australian

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