The Victoria News  

Wednesday, Feb 09, 2005  

Victoria police issue warning about sex offender

VICTORIA (BC Newspaper Group) A violent and dangerous sex offender's release from prison last week prompted Victoria police to issue a notice warning in the interest of public safety.

Convicted rapist Terry Samuel Arnold was released from William Head prison Thursday after serving a sentence for breaching his probation on an earlier charge of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Arnold has a long criminal history that includes multiple convictions for assault and sexual assault involving teens and children.

In 1999, the 42-year-old was convicted of murdering of Kimberly teenager Christine Brown in Keremos in 1991, but Arnold's lawyers appealed and the charges were stayed in March 2002.

Arnold has done time for various sex offences, including the rape of three Newfoundland girls aged 10, 14 and 16 in 1991. Also distrubing are a string of cases in which Arnold has either been a suspect or had a close connection.

While serving time for Browne's murder in 2000, Winnipeg police named Arnold as a suspect in the 1981 murder of 16-year-old Barbara Stoppel in Winnipeg. Arnold and Stoppel worked for a carnival company at the Red River Exhibition that summer. In December 1981, Stoppel was brutally attacked in a Winnipeg doughnut shop across the street from Arnold's apartment. She died six days later.

The original suspect, Thomas Sophonow, went on trial three times before he was finally acquitted in 1999.

In 1998, Calgary police revealed that Arnold was a suspect in the 1987 murder of 17-year-old Denise Lapiere. Her body was discovered in a lane less than 50 metres from a Calgary home that was rented by Arnold and one of his half brothers.

Arnold was also living in Cultus Lake in 1988 when Roberta Ferguson, a 19-year-old Surrey resident, went missing from a campground 600 metres from his home. Ferguson's body has never been found, and Arnold has not been named as a suspect in the case.

Arnold was charged with three other counts of sexual assault in and around Chilliwack that year but convicted only once. In 1991, a Keremeos a woman filed a complaint, saying Arnold sexually assaulted her and kept her confined for four days. She later refused to proceed with charges.

The term of Arnold's release from custody prohibit him from being found in the company of any person under 18 years of age or attending any area where persons under 14 years of age can be found, including parks, swimming pools, schoolgrounds, playgrounds, community centres and day-care centres. Arnold is also prohibited from using Internet cafes.

Police included a recent picture of Arnold with their notification but said he has been known to change his appearance. He stands five-foot-10 tall, weighs 180 pounds and has blue eyes.