May 2016

Hook-handed sex predator allowed out of prison early

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A QUADRUPLE amputee given a seven-year sentence for a vile sex attack on a teenage girl has been freed early – despite still being considered a serious risk to the public.

Thomas Proudfoot, 19, who uses prosthetic arms and legs after losing his limbs in a train crash, left his 17-year-old victim so badly beaten that she was barely recognisable to family and friends.

Proudfoot was also placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

But he served only 14 months before being allowed back into the community.

Today, his victim, Leanne Hill, now 19, has waived her anonymity to show the injuries Proudfoot inflicted on her – and to express her outrage at the legal system.

She said: ‘What kind of message does his early release send out? It’s an absolute joke. I feel really let down by the system.

‘How can seven years suddenly become 14 months? It’s shocking that someone can carry out this level of violence, still have the potential to do it again, yet be released early from prison.’

Her words were echoed by Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Douglas Ross, who said: ‘Thomas Proudfoot should have served his whole sentence.

‘The bravery of Leanne Hill to speak publicly gives us an understanding of how the victim feels when someone caught, convicted and sentenced is then released so soon into a seven-year sentence.’

When he was 15, Proudfoot was hit by a train in Bearsden, near Glasgow. He had to have all four limbs removed and now wears prosthetics, including a false arm with a metal hook. Only months before the sex attack in September 2013, Proudfoot broke a man’s jaw with his metal arm, attacked a police officer and spat in another’s face.

Sentencing Proudfoot at Dumbarton Sheriff Court in March 2014 to seven years for his ‘appalling’ attack on Miss Hill and the other three assaults – three years in custody with a four-year extension, which meant he could be recalled to prison for any offence – Sheriff Simon Fraser expressed concern at his lack of remorse.

News of Proudfoot’s early release only became public a few days ago when he appeared in court over an alleged breach of his conditions of release.

It is understood that Proudfoot, formerly of Anniesland, Glasgow, has now moved to Perthshire.

The sex offender was released in November 2014 and Miss Hill, who was notified at the time, has been living in private torment since.

She said: ‘I’ve lived with the fear, every day since I heard, that I would meet him in the street. I felt sick at the thought, but it’s also been a worry that he might do to someone else what he did to me.’

She felt relieved when she received a letter from the Scottish Prison Service, informing her Proudfoot, who attacked her on a pathway alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal near Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, was back in custody.

But she has been left devastated a second time by the discovery that the parole board have again recommended his immediate release.

She added: ‘I don’t think he should have been allowed out in the first place and I don’t agree he should be let out again. He should be kept in prison and serve his sentence.’