Town not told of paedophile's stay

12 October 1997
The Sunday Times
By Jan Battles and Maeve Sheehan

A RURAL community in Co Kerry is outraged at the gardai's failure to warn them about a suspected child-killer and convicted paedophile who stayed in a local hostel.

Raymond Hewlett, 52, an Englishman suspected of murdering 12-year-old Lesley Molseed in Yorkshire 22 years ago, has been living in Ireland for several months.

The paedophile arrived at Dromtacker, a quiet suburb one mile from Tralee, 11 days ago. Hewlett and his 21-year-old German girlfriend, Marianne Schumucker, checked into the Little River hostel for two nights. But he fled the hostel last Saturday after learning that gardai had called to make inquires about him.

Hewlett, who has a string of convictions for assaults on young girls, was in close proximity to children during his stay in Dromtacker. The hostel is in a cluster of bungalows, many housing young families.

Local people said this weekend that the gardai should have warned them that a paedophile was staying in the area. One local woman said she and her neighbours were unaware that the "very chatty" man who had stayed in a tent in front of the local hostel was a convicted paedophile.

She said Hewlett was often seen chatting up 19 and 20-year-old girls, asking them about younger members of their family. "I think the gardai should have told us, so we could mind our children," said one woman.

Hewlett and his girlfriend arrived in Kerry from Donegal, where they had lived for several months. The couple left when they became aware that they were being monitored by detectives.

Local gardai notified their colleagues in Kerry in early October when they learned that the paedophile planned to move there.

Two detectives called to the Little River hostel last weekend to check on Hewlett. The paedophile and his girlfriend left suddenly last Saturday morning.

Gardai believe that Hewlett intended to stay in Dromtacker for some time. In his two days there, he had signed on at the local unemployment exchange.

Hewlett's record is outlined in a circular distributed to garda stations in the southwest. It warns that Hewlett is a danger to children and should be kept under observation.

In 1972 Hewlett lured his neighbour's 10-year-old daughter into his car, knocked her out with paint thinner and raped her. He later ordered another young girl to strip at gunpoint.

He was jailed for six years in 1988 for kidnapping at knifepoint a 14-year-old girl, whom he dumped in woodland 100 miles away after unsuccessfully trying to rape her.

A new book by Trevor Wilkinson, a retired British police chief, claims that Hewlett should have been brought to trial for the killing of Lesley Molseed in 1975. Molseed's mutilated body was found on the moors 10 miles from her home in Rochdale.

Stefan Kiszko was wrongly convicted and served 16 years for Molseed's murder. A subsequent investigation, which cleared Kiszko, pinpointed Hewlett as the child's killer.

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