RESIDENTS sent a petition to the SIC this week in protest at a paedophile being sent to live on a family housing estate as the man himself apologised for the upset caused by his presence.
Mike Takoulas, 52, has been placed in a long-empty council house at Turniebrae, close to Dunrossness Primary School, prompting the parents of most of the 14 children in the estate to ban them from playing outside and escort them to and from school.
Complaints about the council’s decision to house the former Lerwick resident in the area nearly four weeks ago without informing parents or the school have not led to him being moved, although he told The Shetland Times this week efforts were being made to find somewhere else, possibly in Scalloway.
He said: “I don’t want to be here. I wish they could put me in the middle of nowhere – on a croft or somewhere out of everybody’s way. I would prefer jail to this.” He is due to be sentenced on 17th December for sexually abusing three girls.
The Greek national, who has South African connections, said he was living the life of a hermit, knowing that his neighbours hate him.
Residents in the 15-house Turniebrae estate signed a petition objecting to his presence and challenging the council to explain its letting policy for the empty house, which it bought back from private owners and had left empty for many months.
The letter stated: “We as good honest residents believe we have the right to know what sort of potential neighbours we can expect, at least for the safety of our children.”
Clearly anxious, Takoulas spoke of his fear of being lynched by locals after they discovered he was living in their midst. The only aggresive action directed at him has been the slashing of two of his car tyres two weeks ago, which the police investigated.
He said: “I do understand people’s concern and all I can do is apologise profusely for everything. If the community does not want me here, I don’t want to be here. I feel strongly that I don’t want to infringe on the community and I do not want to rub anything in their face – that’s the last thing I want to do.”
After hearing how local parents were worried about the safety of their children, he said: “I’m not a threat to anyone. I’m not a predator. I’ve got kids of my own.”
He ventures out little more than to drive to the police station in Lerwick to sign in each day as a condition of his bail. “Most days of my existence the only people I speak to are the police,” he said.
He fled the country after being arrested by the police in August and only agreed to come back from South Africa last month. Since he pleaded guilty he has been on bail while background reports are compiled to help the sheriff decide his sentence. “I came back into this environment voluntarily. It feels like I came back from paradise into hell. I’m not going to blame anybody for that. I take full responsibility for what’s happened and I will be punished.”