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Pub pool game for notorious sex offender

PUBLISHED: 20:50 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich man today told of his horror after he realised the amiable stranger he and his girlfriend met over pints and games of pool was in fact one of the country's most notorious sex attackers.

AN Ipswich man today told of his horror after he realised the amiable stranger he and his girlfriend met over pints and games of pool was in fact one of the country's most notorious sex attackers.

Continuing to track the movements of released, yet dangerous rapist, Steven Beech – whose free board and lodging in a cell at Ipswich police station has outraged the town – The Evening Star can reveal how the 38-year-old lied about his past and flirted with women.

Beech, who has 115 convictions, mostly for sex crimes, lied about his prison past and flirted with women as he knocked back pints and played pool for more than five hours in a pub in the town centre.

For many residents the shock caused by the realisation that the stranger, laughing and joking in their midst, was one of the country's worst serial sex offenders, is too much to bear.)

One 20-year-old pub-goer recalled Beech's behaviour during a boozy afternoon last Thursday during one of his trips out on the town at the Victoria pub on Civic Drive – just a few chilling yards from where fellow sex attacker, Kevin Chambers, Beech's one- time prison pal, raped an Ipswich teenager in the subway on St Matthew Street three years ago.

He said Beech, who is today spending his 10th day in the town, arrived shortly after 11.30am with his two police minders in tow and began playing on the pub's pool table.

But the man shuddered as he remembered how Beech cosied up to his girlfriend and her female pal.

"My girlfriend had come down and started talking to him – and now I'm thinking 'here's one of Britain's most dangerous sex offenders talking to my girlfriend'," he said.

"The two policemen were there at another table all the time, drinking tea. He was sitting there talking to my girlfriend and her friend while I was playing pool. I can't believe how two policemen could sit there and watch a sex offender chat up a woman.

"I pick her up from work every night now because he knows where she works and everything."

These comments from the man, who was understandably too scared to be identified, came after Beech's cover had been blown following his arrival in Ipswich on Tuesday, February 19, shortly after being hounded out of his last home in Sheffield. Though a free man, he has been living out of a police cell at Ipswich station making visits to nearby pubs and fast-food outlets in the town centre.

Nothing Beech did during his pub visit last week suggested his violent criminal past, although he did admit that he had spent time in prison for robbery. In fact he served six years for the violent rape of 66-year-old housekeeper of a Roman Catholic priest.

Beech, who denied the offence, had been drinking heavily when he called at the house in south London. Following his release, he committed a string of other sex offences, leading to another jail sentence, this time suspended, for committing a lewd act in a telephone box.

Yet fellow punters were completely unaware of this shocking record as Beech, who boasts a tattoo of Christ's head on his chest, happily drank the afternoon away.

"To me, he seemed like a really nice bloke," said another person at the pub.

"I didn't think anything of it because I didn't have a clue. We talked about his chain around his neck and he asked if I liked his tattoos.

"He said he was in prison for three years for robbery. When I saw him on TV and heard what he had done – I couldn't believe it. I thought 'That's terrible'. I think he should never have been allowed in here. From what I've read he sounds crazy. He should be locked up and they should throw away the key."

The landlady of the Victoria declined to comment.

Beech made legal history when Liverpool magistrates slapped a five-year court order on him in October 2000, banning him from pestering women. He broke it within three days. The order bans him from using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour toward a woman, or assaulting or attempting to assault any woman. He also has to seek the written consent of a chief constable if he wishes to move in with a woman.

Beech has said he wants to leave Suffolk because of the widespread publicity.

n Have your say. Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

You can also make your feelings known on our website at www.eveningstar.co.uk where you can register your opinion if you think Beech should be allowed to lodge at Ipswich Police Station. Currently 83 per cent have voted no and 17pc yes.

n The Star will continue to monitor Beech's movements to give a warning to our readers about the rapist in our midst. We will carry his picture every day until he leaves the town.

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