A Dundee children’s charity boss says parents need to be given more information to help protect family members from paedophiles, after a large weekend protest.
Laurie Matthew, founder of the 18 and Under charity, was commenting after more than 100 people descended on a city street at the weekend, protesting about a convicted paedophile moving into the area.
While condemning vigilante-style behaviour, Ms Matthew said she acknowledged the situation was a difficult one and could understand parents’ frustration.
‘We must keep our children safe’
Police were called to the property as the crowd protested and chanted outside the St Mungo Terrace home of 26-year-old Andrew Galbraith.
Eventually Mr Galbraith was escorted out of his home and placed in the back of a police van as protesters screamed “get the beast out” and “no peace for the beast”.
Ms Matthews said: “This is such a difficult subject.
“There is never enough information for parents and the key issue here is keeping our children safe and protected from sexual predators.
“I realise that in this case this man has paid for his crime but at the same time children must be protected.”
She added: “It is very difficult for parents to keep their children safe if they are unaware what is happening but I can’t bear vigilante behaviour.
‘Emotions run high’
“I understand that emotions run high and that people are upset.
“It’s easy to target a known person, what is concerning is that there are so many more paedophiles unknown and flying under the radar who are living in our communities.
“We need to push for a personal safety programme for parents and children to be run throughout nurseries and schools, in a bid to really keep our children safe.”
Labour leader: ‘Authorities must take responsibility’
Labour leader on Dundee City Council Kevin Keenan, whose ward St Mungo’s Terrace falls under, said: “I have had no feedback so far on the truth of what has happened in this instance.
“However, what happened at the weekend is clearly concerning.
“The authorities need to take responsibility for the safety of everyone involved.
“The safety of the person at the centre of the protest must be considered but so should the safety of everyone in the community who could be affected by this.
“Clearly more information needs to be supplied.”
Lib Dem councillor for the ward, Daniel Coleman declined to comment saying he didn’t think it was appropriate for him to do so.
The ward’s other two counillors, council leader John Alexander and SNP councillor Stewart Hunter were also approached for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.
In July Galbraith pled guilty to inducing what he thought was a 13-year-old child to look at a sexual image and conversation, in order to gain sexual gratification or humiliation, between November 8 2020 and June 13 2021.
He also pled guilty to two additional charges of possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
On August 19 he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court again for sentencing.
He was placed on the sex offenders register for three years and ordered to complete a rehabilitation programme.
He was also placed under supervision for the same period of time.