April 19, 2023 2.30 pm This story is over 14 months old

Child rapist who absconded from Lincolnshire prison ‘too dangerous to be released’

He is currently serving two life sentences

A child rapist who absconded from HMP North Sea Camp over ten years ago has been been described as ‘too dangerous to be released or sent to an open prison’ again.

Ivan Leach, originally from Preston and also known as Lee Cyrus, is currently serving two life sentences.

He carried out a violent crime spree against vulnerable women while on the run from prison, and also assaulted and robbed a 90-year-old woman for £12.

Leach, now 57, absconded from the Boston open prison on October 9, 2012, prompting a nationwide manhunt.

Leach carried out 11 attacks targeting women in the Hampstead Heath area before being caught in Camden two months later.

He was jailed for life, with a minimum of 11 years, in December 2013.

Among his offences, he indecently exposed himself to two women, aged 53 and 62, at Boston Cemetery in Lincolnshire in September 2012 while still a serving prisoner on day release.

Several crimes of indecent exposure also took place in Hampstead Heath within weeks of him going on the run. The offences are also said to have increased in seriousness, including violent attacks on elderly women alone in their own homes.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Lee Cyrus following an oral hearing. The panel also refused to recommend a move to open prison.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing.

“Evidence from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements may be given at the hearing.

“It is standard for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.

“Under current legislation he will be eligible for a further review in due course. The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Parole Board said that a decision to recommend him for release would only have come into effect after his minimum tariff had expired in December 2024.

However, it is understood that he did qualify for an immediate transfer to open conditions.

The summary reportedly states his behaviour in prison has been ‘exemplary’ and that he had successfully completed ‘accredited programmes to address decision making, better ways of thinking, sex offending and a tendency to use violence.’

However, the Parole Board reportedly concluded that his history of absconding and horrific return to sex attacks and violence in 2012 meant he was unsuitable for a move to an open jail.

Before absconding from HMP North Sea Camp, he was put behind bars on at least three other occasions.

  • Jailed in 1984 for seven years for robbing and burgling a 79 year-old woman in her sheltered accommodation flat, and striking her in the face and body with his fists;
  • Jailed in 1999 for 14 months after admitting unlawful sex with a 13 year-old girl who said he had spiked her drink and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the incident;
  • Jailed in 2005 for robbing a 90 year-old woman. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of five years. He also has convictions for burglary and robbery and assault

In addition, a report in the Daily Record 2013, it was claimed that he did not face justice for offences in Scotland.

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