A TERRIFIED victim of one of the most notorious serial rapists in the past few decades has raised concerns that she was not told he might soon be released.
The woman, who cannot be named, said she was shocked to see an article in The Sun newspaper saying Michael Chandler, who brutally raped her and five other women in the 1980s, is on day release from prison.
After the victim, who will be referred to as Ms L, looked up the man who was convicted in 1988 she saw that he was in a low security prison and had been on day release and working in a bed shop in Bristol on a news website.
She said: "I needed my birth certificate for something and was going through some old papers. I found a letter from the police from the time and stupidly Googled his name and a few articles from The Sun came up and was absolutely horrified, first of all that he is out, but secondly that I hadn't been told. I read the articles and realised he was here in London, which is way too local, I started to unravel a bit. He will have all the support in the world when he is let out but what about the victims?"
At the time Mr Chandler was the most serious serial rapist on record and the reporter at the Harrow Observer at the time, Neville Thurlbeck and former news editor at News of the World, spent two weeks researching and sitting in court.
Mr Chandler was convicted of raping six different women in six different attacks and was sentenced to six life sentences.
He was dubbed "The Beast" by the newspaper and Judge Thomas Pigot was quoted as saying at the time of sentencing: "Clearly you are a menace to all women. It is clear that you must be removed from society for a long time because of the way you have destroyed so many lives - lives with so much potential."
Ms L remembers the horror of sitting in court and reliving the violent attack which took place in December 1986.
She said: "When we were giving evidence we all said that he had looked at us and laughed, someone who can do that is so bad to the core. The thing is you just get a bit scared, you have got these bizarre thoughts he is just a faceless thing, but on the Internet when I looked him up, you come face to face with him. I just completely unravelled and it brought back all sorts of memories. I had too much time on my hands had to stay away from alcohol, if I had had a glass of wine I would've ended up as a quivering wreck, so I just stuck to endless amounts of tea. Now I feel anger, anger that there is was no one there to prepare the victims."
The charity Victim Support said: "Last year alone we helped 7,500 victims of rape and we know that even though being a victim of any kind of crime can be frightening and upsetting, rape is particularly distressing and the effects can last for a long time. People who are victims of rape describe feeling frightened, guilty, powerless, angry, ashamed and depressed, and having difficulty eating, sleeping or concentrating. Victim Support is here to help victims of rape move forward with their lives by giving them emotional support and practical help."
The charity said that any victim, regardless of when the crime happened, could contact them for support.
Chandler was arrested in October 1985 after committing two rapes when he was spotted outside Neasden DHSS offices in Neasden Lane but was released because of lack of evidence.
He was found guilty of 11 other charges including grievous bodily harm with intent, aggravated burglary, false imprisonment, abduction and robbery for which he received sentences totalling 52 years. All sentences will run concurrently.
Pleaded not guilty to all rape charges but admitted one charge of GBH, carrying an offensive weapon and taking a vehicle without consent.
He was acquitted of three other rape charges.
Ms L is trying to find out whether she should have been made aware her attacker was back on the streets, even for a day at a time.
Mr Chandler is coming to the end of his sentence, but the prison service do not give out details of when a prisoner will be released.
He is currently at Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire, which is a category D prison and is low security.
The victim is now in her 40s and lives in West London and occasionally comes back to Harrow to visit family and said the thought of seeing him on the street fills her with dread.
In one of the stories he was staying at a hostel in South London and travelling to see his family in the north of the city.
Although she said she would be terrified of seeing him on the street she added: "I felt I wanted to confront him and say this is what the impact of this in the last 25 years has been. It is not something you can move on from."
Michael Chandler, who lived on Goldsmith Close and was 24-years-old at the time, had a long-term girlfriend at the time of the attacks and a young son.
Both of them moved to the North of England to start a new life, and his mother, Vi Chandler, refused to believe her son was guilty.
In the Harrow Observer from the time she said: "I don't believe he is guilty. Everyone knows their own son, I will be walking with a stick when he comes out, but when he does there will be a big party and a big welcome for him."
Ms L said that although he could not be kept locked away forever she wished there had been some kind of letter to tell her what was going on.
There was an offer of support at the time but Ms L was too shaken up to take up the offer and ended up having counselling many years later.
She said it has brought back a lot of memories and feelings from the time: "I felt shock and shame. It feels as though you have done something wrong. He was a complete stranger but you would question in the your head what could I have done differently? Did I wear a short skirt or look at someone in the wrong way? Did I draw attention to myself? "
Although the initial shock of seeing the article a few months ago has worn off Ms L said: "It takes you a long time to get over the victim mentality, I am not going to let this unravel me, I am just going to bury it."