Former neighbours of suspected child sex offender Patrick Pious Hancox have spoken of their anger at how one of Britain’s most wanted men managed to go undetected for over a year by living in one of Longford town’s housing estates.
This week neighbours told the Longford Leader that young people were regularly seen going into Mr Hancox’s house.
Less than a week after the Leader revealed how gardai eventually tracked down and arrested the 68-year-old Dubliner, residents of the Gleann Riada estate at the edge of the town were still struggling to come to terms with the revelation two weeks on.
Most of the people on the estate were reluctant to give their names on Friday, deciding instead to speak anonymously on the controversy.
One angry homeowner said she could not understand how a known fugitive could evade capture for almost three years, the last 12 months of which were spent living just yards from her own front door.
“We (residents) can’t understand why a man can be able to walk into Longford, go to an estate agent, rent a house, lead a normal life every day and supposed to be wanted for the last couple of years,” she said. “It doesn’t make any sense. He was in and out of town every day, in and out of bookies offices. He was often sat on park benches.”
As revealed in last week’s Leader, Hancox had managed to elude British authorities for almost three years after initially being arrested in 2008 for alleged child sex and abduction offences.
Instructed to stay away from his supposed victim, police subsequently charged the pensioner on the belief he had gone against those conditions. However Hancox skipped bail and went on the run. Longford Gardai arrested the suspected paedophile a little over two weeks ago.
Other local residents on the quiet out of town estate where Hancox purportedly stayed for the last year, said they were outraged when learning of the news in the media.
Some, like Lucy McKeown went further, revealing a number of individuals of various ages were often seen going in and out of the house at various stages of the day.
“He just sat in front of his window,” she said as she sat in her car. “The blinds were open. I used to see teenagers going into his house but I thought they might have been his kids or something.”
Nigerian man, Mike Erhabors also said that he had seen young people going into the house.
“We thought he might have been the father of these people. We saw teenagers, schoolboys, schoolgirls in uniform and in plain clothes,” said the clearly upset father of two said.
It is believed that complaints have been made to Longford Garda Station in relation to the fact that Mr Hancox was living in the town although Gardai would not confirm this, saying they had “nothing further” to add on the issue.