A SEX abuse victim who feared a face-to-face encounter with her attacker has spoken of her relief after a last minute u-turn stopped him from returning to Barrow.

Care worker Emma Bewley said she felt “trapped” after discovering the man who abused her as a child was going to be allowed to re-settle in his hometown.

But ahead of David Thomson’s release on Monday, the Probation Service revealed an eleventh hour decision had been made to house him elsewhere.

Miss Bewley said she was relieved to know she and her family would be able to live without the fear of seeing Thomson.

“I’m so relieved the decision has been reversed,” said Miss Bewley.

“It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me.”

Thomson was found guilty of a string of sexual offences in 2013 and was sentenced to a 12 and a half year prison sentence.

He was going to be allowed to live in Barrow and would have been able to move freely across the areas south of Duke Street, mainly Barrow Island and Walney.

It is understood Thomson will be under strict licensing conditions upon his release, including an overnight curfew.

He will also be banned from attempting to make contact with Miss Bewley and must live outside the Barrow area upon release.

Miss Bewley agreed to waive her right to automatic anonymity to voice her fears of having to live in the same town as her abuser.

Barrow MP John Woodcock worked with Miss Bewley and wrote to the Justice Secretary in an attempt to have the decision reversed.

Upon hearing the news, he said: “ I am delighted that the probation service has listened to our concerns and backed down from placing this notorious sex offender back in Barrow where he would have risked bumping into the survivor of the abuse he inflicted.

“Huge respect to the young woman who spoke out despite the severe mental distress from the prospect of her abuser’s return to Barrow, she has shown great strength. I am also grateful to the police for making the case against Thomson’s return and to Minister of Justice David Gauke’s team who were shocked by the decision when I spoke to them and wanted to help.

“I hope the justice secretary will now review the probation rules that almost inflicted this terrible situation on my constituent when her safety and well being should never have been in question.

“Too often the judicial system still fails to prioritise the victims of abuse and that must change.”

A Probation Service spokesman said: “Whenever a serious sexual or violent offender is released from prison, a thorough risk assessment is carried out and they are subject to strict conditions which if breached can see them return to prison.

“Typically, these conditions mean they are not allowed to contact the victim or enter an area where they live and victims can make requests about such exclusion zones.

“While we have a duty not to make an offender homeless by excluding them from a particular area, we are pleased to have been able to accommodate the victim’s request in this case.”