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Flashback: Unwanted homeless, jewellery shop raid and a convicted child molester

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 March 2017

40-years-ago Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago Picture: Romford Library

Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1957:

A story of unease, squalor and human tragedy was revealed at Suttons, the Essex County Council’s hostel in Hornchurch for the homeless.

Because of fear, inhabitants asked to be allowed to remain nameless. They believed they were shunned because they came from Suttons. “We are treated and housed like cattle,” said one mother.

“At the shops we are shunned. People move away from us as though we are contaminated. It’s not our fault we are here.

“At one time, they would not clean our clothes unless we paid them first. Our men can’t get jobs because of the reputation this place has.”

One man who had a good job said: “I daren’t tell my employers where I live. They would sack me immediately. I use my mother’s address.”

1977:

Raiders, one armed with a sawn-off shotgun, burst into a jewellery shop in Hornchurch and grabbed a £4,000 haul.

Staff were held at gunpoint while the three-man gang cleared jewellery and clocks from the shelves. A salesman visiting the A J Hone and Co Ltd shop in High Street, was also threatened and his suitcase, containing valuables, stolen.

Hornchurch police made an urgent appeal for witnesses who may have seen the getaway in a brown Ford Cortina car. The car was parked in an alleyway by Tesco supermarket in High Street. The men picked early-closing day, when most nearby shops were shut, for the raid. They burst in at 5.10pm, about 15 minutes before closing time.

Det Insp Derek Jerman said: “The armed man went in first followed by the other two. They threatened to shoot the two shop assistants and the salesman if they tried to stop them. They grabbed jewellery and clocks worth about £4,000 from the shelves and ran out.”

1997:

A convicted child molester was believed to be back in Havering after serving only three years of an eight-and-a-half-year sentence.

It was thought that the man, who lured boys with learning difficulties into his home and subjected them to serious and repeated sexual assault, was living in Rainham.

Members of the Rainham community voiced their concern and called for the urgent implementation of a paedophile register.

Cllr Tony Ellis said: “Something has to be done.

I think it is disgraceful hat

we can’t allow children out

and know that they are

100per cent safe from people like this.

“There should be something set up so that we can know where these people are and we can keep an eye on them.”

Cllr Harry Webb said: “If it is true that this man has been released into the Rainham area, I am horrified.

“We have demanded a register from Havering Council which lists where these people live so we can be aware of them.”

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