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Paediatrician Attacks 'Ignorant' Vandals

BBC News Wednesday, 30 August, 2000

Paediatrician Door
The front door was daubed with yellow paint

A hospital paediatrician has hit out at vandals who forced her to flee her home after apparently taking her job title to mean she was a paedophile.

South African-born Yvette Cloete - a 30-year-old trainee consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, south Wales - said she planned to move home after returning to find the outside of her property daubed with the words "paedo".

She said she can not rule out the possibility that the paint attack was connected with her job at the hospital.

Yvette Cloete
Dr Yvette Cloete: Living with friends

She also praised the friendly neighbourhood where she had lived with her brother Andre, 24, in the village of St Brides, and said she had become a victim of ignorance.

Speaking for the first time since the attack on the rented home she has vowed never to return to, she described the shock of discovering what had happened.

"It is just unbelievable. It is terrible that people think that they have the right to vandalise your property like this no matter what you have done.

"We telephoned the police immediately and began to clean off the words as soon as we could. You think that your home is a place to go to to be safe so it is a shock when something like this happens."

Ms Cloete said the graffiti had been daubed across the front door windows and surrounding woodwork on Monday.

"I'm living with friends at the moment. I won't be returning there again. I think I will look for somewhere more upmarket.

"It looks as though it was just a question of confusing the job title for something else - I suppose I'm really a victim of ignorance," she said.

Rosemary Butler, the Welsh Assembly member for Newport West, described the attack as "appalling".

Ms Butler said that the attack on Dr Cloete's home appeared to be carried out through "sheer hysteria, bravado and ignorance."
She condemned the campaign by the News of the World to name and shame paedophiles in the community.

"We have a code of law and I cannot condone people taking the law into their own hands," said Ms Butler.

Both Gwent Police and Dr Cloete believe the only explanation is the "extraordinary ignorance" of the people who carried out the vandal attack.
It is appalling that a professional woman who cares for children has been forced from her home

Chief Inspector Carl Close

Chief Inspector Carl Close, who is heading the investigation into the attack, said the police currently had no ideas who was responsibe.

But he said he felt that it maybe someone more 'sinister' than children.

"It is appalling that a professional woman who cares for children has been forced from her home," added Chief Inspector Close.

Marie Thorn, a senior administrator at the Royal Gwent Hospital, said Dr Cloete was dealing "very well with the circumstances".

"As a happy coincidence she is moving away from the area - and I don't think this will be anything to make her regret that decision," she said.

"It is really quite staggering that this kind of mistake can happen. Some people are incredibly ignorant."


Doctor Driven Out of Home by Vigilantes

The Guardian, Wednesday 30 August 2000 by Rebecca Allison

Self-styled vigilantes attacked the home of a hospital paediatrician after apparently confusing her professional title with the word "paedophile", it emerged yesterday.

Dr Yvette Cloete, a specialist registrar in paediatric medicine at the Royal Gwent hospital in Newport, was forced to flee her house after vandals daubed it with graffiti in the middle of the night.

The word "paedo" was written across the front porch and door of the house she shared with her brother in the village of St Brides, south Wales.

Dr Cloete, 42, confirmed she had left the property after the "distressing" attack. "For the time being I have moved out of the area because when something like this happens you just cannot feel safe in your own home.

"We removed the graffiti within hours, but what happened was terrible and it has been extremely distressing."

Gwent police confirmed that the attack last Friday night was prompted by a confusion over the words "paedophile" and "paediatrician".

Inspector Andrew Adams said: "It appears to be the case. We are still making inquiries. We want to stress in the strongest possible terms that there is nothing to justify what was written on the walls and door of Dr Cloete's home."

He said every effort was being made to find the people responsible for the attack. "These people should think long and hard about what they have done to a valuable member of the community, who has devoted her life to helping children.

"We are concerned that some people in the local community have taken it upon themselves to do this, and would urge them to think about the consequences of their inaccurate and inappropriate actions."

The Royal Gwent hospital described Dr Cloete as a top-class specialist in children's diseases. A spokesman said: " She is a valued and respected member of the paediatric team, where she has worked for the last two and a half years."

A neighbour of the doctor and her brother said: "They are decent people who we get on very well with. It is very unfortunate that something like this has happened."

Dr Cloete is the latest victim to have been wrongly identified by anti-paedophile campaigners in the wave of protests which have swept the country following the News of the World's campaign to "name and shame" alleged sex offenders.

Five families who were wrongly identified as harbouring sex offenders were forced to flee their homes in the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth as violence flared earlier this month.

The Sunday tabloid wants the government to introduce a law allowing people access to information on the identities and addresses of paedophiles in their areas.