A new Netflix documentary series explores a historic Glasgow murder and interrogates the danger of housing sex offenders in blocks of flats.
The documentary analyses the case of Mark Cummings, eight, who was killed by paedophile Stuart Leggate in 2004.
An investigation was launched when the child vanished from his home in Royston, Glasgow.
Leggate, who had previous convictions for child sexual abuse, was being housed in the same high-rise building at the time.
He sexually assaulted and strangled the child in his flat before dumping his body down a rubbish chute.
The case occurred after the Cosgrove Report, published in 2001, which was conducted following the murder of nine-year-old Scott Simpson in Aberdeen by paedophile Steven Leisk.
The report warned that registered sex offenders (RSO) should not be housed in blocks of flats.
In the third episode of Netflix’s When Missing Turns To Murder, now-retired police officers involved in the case have spoken out for the first time.
The warning about not housing RSOs in high-rises has continued to be ignored even after Mark’s murder with a number of high profile cases occurring in the years since.
Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, Mark Cummings’ mum, campaigner Margaret-Ann, said: “Helping make this documentary about Mark was a tough experience for our family.
“But it was important to highlight, once again, the real cost to real people when officials and systems become complacent and lazy.
“We’re very grateful to those police officers for speaking out, but now we need politicians with the empathy to understand and make laws that designed to put families and communities first, not the rights of devious criminals.
“Dangerous sex offenders should never be secretly housed in places where children and women are then put at a greater risk they know nothing about.
“It’s ridiculous that even needs saying – but it needs repeating because this is still happening nearly 20 years after Mark was taken from us.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Protecting the public is a top priority for Police Scotland. We work with our MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) partners to manage registered sex offenders (RSOs) across all of Scotland’s communities. Every single offender is assessed and managed in line with the risk they present. While we can never completely eliminate risk, MAPPA partners use robust risk assessment processes and a range of investigative tools, including the latest technologies, to manage RSOs and mitigate risk to protect the public.
“With very few exceptions, RSOs are entitled to live in any property they own or are otherwise accommodated in by a Local Authority or other housing provider. Their addresses undergo stringent assessment by MAPPA partners. This is to ensure every reasonable precaution has been taken to safeguard both the local community and the offender.
“Housing is recognised as a critical factor in providing stability, which can help to reduce any risk posed by such offenders.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The prime consideration when assessing the suitability of accommodation for a sex offender is the safety of the community.
“An Environmental Risk Assessment must be carried out in every case, focusing on assessing and managing any risks and involving partners working together under Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).”