Anonymous letter sent convicted sex offender packing
RESIDENTS of a close-knit Ipswich neighbourhood are quietly thanking the mysterious letter dropper who alerted them to the presence of a convicted violent sex offender in their midst.
In an act of vigilance that is actually illegal, a person anonymously dropped photocopied versions of a November newspaper article regarding the sex offender David Kenneth Gilchrist, who has been released back into the community having served a 14-year sentence for two violent rapes.
A message at the top of the newspaper article, which was dropped into letterboxes in several surrounding streets last week, read: "Lives near you at (address and suburb)."
A grandmother from the street where the man was living until recently has told the QT that although residents were frightened at first, the anonymous message has actually brought the neighbourhood closer together.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she did not sleep for three nights after receiving the note in the mail.
"I would rather know if someone like that is in our area," she said.
"They may have served their time, but they've done something that is socially unacceptable.
"This has been a wake-up call - a reminder that this type of thing is closer to home than we all think.
"If there is a positive to come out of it, it has resulted in all the neighbours coming out of the house and speaking to each other about it.
"We've formed our own little neighbourhood watch."
In 1998, Gilchrist was sentenced to 14 years jail for two violent sexual assaults on women - one in which he held a knife to the victim's throat.
He was released in 2012 but returned to prison in 2013 for breaching the conditions that apply to him as a dangerous sexual offender.
Ipswich police were contacted for comment on the letter box drop, but told the QT that they did not wish to speak publicly on the matter.
It was confirmed that police had not received a complaint from Gilchrist in relation to harassment from residents in the area.
Residents noticed that the Ipswich house identified in the letterbox drop appeared to have been cleared out over the weekend.
They are not certain if the move is permanent or temporary.