Trevor Veale/The Coffs Coast Adv

Child Rapist to move too close to Clarence

ONE of the state's worst child rapists is moving less than an hour down the road from the Clarence Valley to Coffs Harbour.

Kevin Howard is about to be released after a nine-year prison stint for sexually abusing a four-year-old girl in a Lake Macquarie caravan park.

Now he intends to move up this way.

The 62-year-old has a long history of sex offences dating from when he groped a woman and propositioned her in 1977.

He was jailed for raping a woman at knifepoint in her car in 1978 but was released on parole after four years.

Within four months of freedom, Howard and an accomplice drove through Sydney's streets to "find a woman".

They found a partially blind 17-year-old girl walking down the street with her boyfriend, frightened him away and kidnapped the girl. The two men took the girl to an isolated place and took turns repeatedly sexually assaulting her.

Howard was caught a few days later and spent another four years in prison.

While on parole, he approached three girls aged four, five and six on a playground and touched them inappropriately before unsuccessfully inviting them to leave with him in a friend's car.

By October 2006 he was living in a caravan park in Lake Macquarie, where a four-year-old girl would regularly visit him.

Howard, then 53, lent his mobile phone to a former girlfriend who stumbled across photos of him having sex with the young child.

He was jailed for a string of crimes including raping a child under the age of 10 and child pornography.

He has been continuously jailed since, but is eligible for parole tomorrow.

The State of NSW lodged a last-minute bid to have Howard subjected to a strict supervision order if parole is granted.

The Supreme Court imposed an interim supervision order regardless of his release date, with a hearing in November set to establish whether the supervision should be prolonged.

He will also be assessed by two psychiatrists.

Howard's sentence will expire on October 7 even if parole is denied.

The court heard he plans to live with a woman in Goulburn in the short term before moving to the Coffs Harbour area.

"The defendant has no plans to work, but rather intends to play pool (presumably in hotels), go fishing, and have 'a few beers'," Justice Richard Button said.

A senior psychologist with Corrective Services warned Howard's plans "equate to returning to a lifestyle very similar to that he had at the time of the index offence".

She also warned he maintains a high sex drive, refuses to undergo voluntary chemical castration and has a moderate-high to high risk of re-offending.

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