QUESTIONS have been raised about the release of a paedophile doctor freed from prison despite the opposition of ministers.

Leslie Mitchell, 60, was jailed for four years in 2010 when he tried to lure two girls aged 10 and 11 into his car with the intention of having sex with them. Judge Lord Hardie imposed an order for lifelong restriction on him. A parole board has rejected a Scottish Government plea to keep him behind bars and the doctor, originally from Falkirk, now lives in social housing in nearby Bo'ness.

Mitchell told the board he needed to go back into the community to "test" if his rehabilitation had worked and it decided there was not enough evidence to suggest he would be a public risk.

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Documents are also believed to show that Mitchell said he wanted to have sex with a girl aged 10 to 16 but his preferences were those aged 10 to 13.

He told psychologists during a risk assessment before his release that he had engaged in sexual activity with young girls three times in the past decade.

Ministers advised he should be moved to Castle Huntly open prison to be monitored before release. His application was approved by all but one parole board member. Janine Rennie, chief executive of Falkirk child abuse charity Open Secret, said the decision "beggars belief" while Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: "Releasing this man as a road-test of his rehabilitation is not the kind of risk we should be taking."

The Scottish Government said it could not comment but decisions to release an offender with an order for lifelong restriction were taken by the independent Parole Board for Scotland on the basis of risk to public safety.