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Herald Express helps put a rapist behind bars

The Torquay Herald Express has helped put a brutal child rapist behind bars.

The paper published a photograph of a suspect when he went on the run after complaints that he had attacked several girls.

The paper appealed for anybody who spotted him to contact the police, and within hours a reader had recognised the wanted man and tipped off officers who quickly arrested him.

Michael Parnell, a lorry driver from Kingsteignton, is starting a 10-year prison sentence after being convicted of five offences of rape and five of indecent assault. He denied all the charges.

Sergeant Steve Blair, head of the South Devon child protection team, thanked the Herald Express for its help in quickly locating Parnell.

He said: “We took the very unusual step of asking for his photograph to be printed because it was such a serious case. It was fortunate that he was identified so quickly.

“Without the help of the newspaper and the reader, he could have been at large for much longer, extending the anguish of his victims and their families.

“The prompt response brought the whole matter to a much speedier conclusion.”

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