A terrified mum is convinced she was targeted and stalked by escaped rapist Malcolm Millman during his 10 days on the run.
Melanie Wiltshire was walking near Westcroft community centre with her 12-year-old daughter when she noticed a man loitering and watching them.
“He was staring at us fixedly and his eyes looked all glazed and peculiar. He came across as very odd – and frightening.”
Melanie ushered her daughter past but as she did so the man rose and walked directly behind them.
“The quicker we walked, the quicker he walked. When we got to the community centre I decided to cut through and go out of the back door to give him the slip,” she said.
But when the pair exited the back of the building, the man was waiting for them.
“I’ve worked with people with mental health problems and realised he did not look right at all. He looked poorly and quite unstable,” she said.
It was only by dashing to her car and driving off that Melanie managed to give him the man slip.
She last saw him hovering outside the community centre, where a children’s dance class was about to start.
The incident happened on Sunday October 25 – just hours after city secure unit patient Millman gave his carers the slip during a visit to a monastery near Hemel Hempstead.
Melanie said: “I knew nothing about this until I picked up the Citizen last week and saw the report of the police warning. I recognised the photo immediately – it was the man that stalked us.”
Millman, 58, was finally caught on Tuesday in Blackpool. He is now once again detained under the Mental Health Act.
Police believe he used trains to travel the country. While he was on the loose, they warned people not to approach him and dial 999 if they saw him.
Convicted and sentenced to 12 years for rape in 1996, Millman was sectioned to stay at Eaglestone’s secure Chadwick Lodge.
Police said he was a threat to women and girls in particular. They warned he could be violent and has previously used a weapon to threaten people.