THE widow of a man who died after being mistakenly labelled a paedophile has welcomed the introduction of Sarah’s Law.
Bryan Davies, of Bradshaw Street West, Accrington, suffered a massive heart attack in December after months of vandalism and abuse at the hands of local yobs who wrongly believed he was a child sex offender.
Home Secretary Theresa May this week announced the extension of the Sarah’s Law pilot – named after Sarah Payne who was murdered by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting – into eight other force areas.
However, it will only be in place in Lancashire next spring.
Mr Davies, 63, and his wife Debbie, 45, found themselves at the centre of rumour after two young girls made false accusations against him last summer.
Despite police handing out leaflets in the community stating Mr Davies was not a paedophile, the campaign continued.
Mrs Davies, who is still receiving counselling because of her horrific ordeal, said: “It would have made a difference for Bryan and he could still have been alive.
“If those parents making the accusations and starting the rumours had been able to check the information for themselves, it would never have escalated.
“If people are actually registered sex offenders then I agree with the parents having that information. It’s a good idea to be able to check.
“But then you get people like Bryan who was accused and cleared, yet still there was the vigilante behaviour.
“It must be very carefully handled because one false rumour or misinformation can result in what happened to Bryan.”
The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme would give parents the right to check with police if anyone with unsupervised regular access to their children has any criminal conviction for child sex offences.
But some charities are concerned over vigilante action and driving paedophiles underground.