Ipswich: Killer acquitted of teen sex attack must stay in jail

IPSWICH: A murderer acquitted of an horrific sex attack on an Ipswich girl while on day release from jail must stay in prison because the Parole Board believes the sex was not consensual.

David Lant has failed in his bid for a second release on licence after the High Court threw out his application to overturn the board’s decision.

The 65-year-old was found not guilty of attempted rape and five other sexually-related charges at Ipswich Crown Court in July 2006.

Lant, from Norwich, was jailed for life in the 1970s for the murder of a fellow patient at Broadmoor, where he was locked up following a string of other serious offences.

After turning to god, he was sent to Hollesley Bay open prison in 2002 and was on day release in Ipswich when he was alleged to have attacked the 16-year-old in October 2004.

Lant was immediately recalled to a closed prison and remains in jail today despite his acquittal.

In a fact-finding hearing last September, at which it heard from the alleged victim, the Parole Board said it was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that the teenager did not consent to sex.

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Lant challenged the decision and demanded a fresh hearing, taking his case to the High Court in London.

His barrister, Stanley Best, argued that the fact the hearing was conducted in such a way that Lant could not see the alleged victim was “unfair”.

As well as not being able to see the woman, the way the room was positioned meant that he could not hear everything she said, he told the judge.

But Judge Michael Kay QC said the claim that the parole hearing was unfair was “totally without merit”, and the High Court challenge had been made too long after the decision was made.

Judge Kay said: “The fact that Mr Lant was acquitted at his trial is no reason for saying that she should not have been protected in this way.

“She was, for the second time, having to give evidence about highly distressing sexual activity in relation to Mr Lant.”

Lant has spent most of his adult life in custody and committed numerous very serious crimes over the years.

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