A major police investigation, charged with identifying how a convicted Co Longford sex offender was able to travel to Scotland before raping and murdering a mother of three two years ago, has sparked fresh calls for greater information sharing between gardai and British Police forces.
The recommendation is one of several findings contained in an independent case review into registered sex offender Patrick Rae’s criminal background shortly before the murder of 34-year-old Mary McLaren in Dundee in February 2010.
Details of the case review come in the same week Department of Justice representatives confirmed to the Leader that Mr Rae has also applied for repatriation to serve out the remainder of his life sentence in Ireland.
Despite acknowledging its reluctance to comment on individual prisoners, a department of justice spokesperson said: “Mr Rae has applied for transfer to Ireland under the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners. His application has been received from the Scottish authorities and is currently being processed in accordance the provisions of the Convention.”
Meanwhile, in the report released this week, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) pointed out that there was no legal legislation in place for Rae, or any other foreign nations with a criminal past to disclose them to immigration officials when entering the UK. This, despite the fact the 42-year-old had over a dozen previous convictions to his name, including three for rape, attempted rape and aggravated sexual assault.
As revealed by the Leader in July last year and a month after Rae was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars at Edinburgh High Court, two warrants for his arrest were already outstanding for his arrest back home. Now police chiefs are calling for greater information sharing to be introduced when dealing with known sex offenders who are attempting to travel between Ireland and the UK.
In its overall findings, British officials discovered a series of “practical difficulties” for police when dealing and attempting to track down foreign nationals such as Rae who are offenders in their own country.
“Lessons are there to be learned and ACPOS and all of our partners are ensuring that all the recommendations are carefully considered, acted upon and the learning shared,” said Tayside Police Assistant Constable Angela Wilson.
“We must all ensure that information is recorded correctly and accurately, as well as being used and shared properly. These points have been identified and a great deal of hard work is ongoing to progress them.”
The report also found that in December 2009, Scottish Police were informed by interpol and gardai Rae was in fact a registered sex offender when stopped for a road driving matter in Aberdeen. However, investigators discovered that Rae had moved on again before an interim order could be served on February 18, exactly a week before the Co Longford man murderered Ms McLaren in Dundee.