A ban on a ‘high risk’ paedophile walking in a park has been overturned after a judge ruled it could "breached his human rights".
Christopher Williams, 49, of Accrington, was barred after being jailed for seven years for indecently assaulting a boy.
Williams, who is now living in a probation hostel in Cumbria, claimed the ban prevented him from taking exercise and losing weight to ease a heart condition, asthma and arthritis. He demanded the right to walk in the Cumbrian park but promised he would not go near children’s swings claiming: "It doesn’t interest me."
After the ruling, Rosie Carter, head of child protection charity SAFEchild, said: "Parents and carers will be horrified the court overturned the decision."
The judge at Burnley crown court relaxed the terms of a Sexual Offence Prevention Order, allowing Williams more freedom to try to get fit. But he told him he would only be able to go to the park when youngsters were in lessons and was still banned during school holidays.
Judge Andrew Woolman said: "If we did not allow him, it would be potentially damaging to his health and would probably be a breach of his human rights. It would be oppressive to leave the orders as they are and some alteration is appropriate."
He said Williams would be allowed to walk in the park for an hour at a specified time and not in the play area. Williams was jailed in 1996 for indecent assault on the boy. He also has a 1980 conviction for indecent exposure.
In April, Williams was given a suspended prison term after a breach of the Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
He and another man who had been sharing Williams’s former home in Rishton, let children in the property, even though both were prohibited from having youngsters where they were living.
Williams was said to have contacted the police and told them it was going on. SAFEchild’s Rosie Carter added: "It’s truly appalling. As a charity we do despair of this decision.
"When that individual was risk-assessed they thought he would possibly molest children and that’s why he was banned from entering parks and play areas.
"I fail to understand why they would disregard that consideration.
"They mention his human rights, but the welfare of children is paramount in English law. It’s frightening."