Lifer out on Licence murdered again Inquest hears

John Gogarty, left, was stabbed to death by Ian Birley and his accomplice Helen Nichols

A convicted killer went on to murder a 65-year-old property developer in South Yorkshire after being released from prison on licence at medium risk, an inquest has heard.

John Gogarty was murdered at his home address in Marsh Street, Wombwell, Barnsley, by Ian Birley in 2015.

A coroner heard on Tuesday how Birley was on licence at the time, having murdered a pensioner in 1995.

Birley, alongside his then-girlfriend Helen Nichols, stabbed Mr Gogarty 69 times.

Witnesses explained how the pair had broken into Mr Gogarty’s home and demanded his PIN before stealing his wallet and carrying out the brutal attack.

They then proceeded to withdraw £500 from his bank account – which was to be used to service a drug debt Birley had incurred – before then taking a bottle Bollinger champagne from the victim’s property and burning their clothes in a wooded area, the inquest heard.

Mr Gogarty’s body was found four days later, on July 17 2015, by his son.

The inquest was told how Birley had previously killed a man named Maurice Hoyle in 1995 and was on licence for that offence when he committed the second murder.

He was given a whole-life jail sentence at Sheffield Crown Court in 2015, while Nichols was given a minimum 20-year term, having both been convicted of Mr Gogarty’s murder.

Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday how the victim’s family had won the right to a full inquest so certain elements of the events leading up to Birley’s release from jail in 2013 could be considered.

Giving evidence, the victim’s daughter, Nicola Gogarty, told the inquest: “The death has obviously devastated the whole family.

“It’s been a huge trauma and of course it’s been very heard to move on from it.

“In my heart I do believe that my dad would still be here had things been done.”

Miss Gogarty told the court how she had been informed Birley had been deemed to be a “medium risk” when he was released from jail in December 2013.

Detective Sergeant Karen Whitehouse, of South Yorkshire Police, explained how the force was unaware of the killer’s release conditions and licence conditions as a probation report issued upon his release was not logged on their systems.

But it was shown a report from the National Probation Service had been sent to the force on December 13 2013, detailing Birley’s address, his supervision officer and his licence conditions – including one stating he should abstain from drinking alcohol.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Handley, of South Yorkshire Police, led the investigation into the death of Mr Gogarty, who was originally from County Louth in Ireland, and said Birley had shown signs of being “chaotic” in the lead-up to the killing.

Speaking about the second killing, he said: “From a previous interaction with Mr Gogarty, Mr Birley was under the impression that he was a man of some means.

“At a point in time a while after this interaction, Mr Birley, under fear of a diminishing ability to gain the income to service his debt, used the information he had previously obtained to determine that that was the best opportunity available to him.”

The inquest, which is expected to last five days, continues.

Sentence cut for ‘monster’ who killed Aldi worker in front of horrified shoppers

A “monster” who stabbed a supermarket worker to death in front of horrified shoppers has had his minimum jail term reduced.

Neville Hord, 45, killed Jodie Willsher, 30, in a frenzied knife attack which he had planned over two weeks because he blamed her for his break-up with her mother.

He admitted murder and was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court in March, with Judge Jonathan Durham Hall ordering him to serve at least 30 years behind bars.

But his minimum term was cut to 27 years on Tuesday by judges sitting at the Court of Appeal in London.

Mr Justice Goose told the court that Hord was in a relationship with Mrs Willsher’s mother, Nicole Dinsdale, for several months before they broke up in September last year.

At the time of the murder he was on bail for an attack on Ms Dinsdale and had made threats to kill her daughter – whom he blamed for the break-up.

The judge said Ms Dinsdale later described the relationship as “controlling” and said he had tried to distance her from her daughter.

Over two weeks he planned the killing, buying two knives, an axe and a crossbow, and even making inquiries about buying a gun.

He also fitted a tracking device to Mrs Willsher’s car and looked up the opening hours of the Aldi supermarket where she worked in Skipton, North Yorkshire.

The judge described how, just four days before Christmas, plumber Hord parked at a nearby McDonald’s and had some food before walking into the busy supermarket with the knife.

He went back to his car to get the axe before returning to Aldi and “calmly” walking around until he found his victim.

He then stabbed the married mother-of-one repeatedly in front of horrified shoppers, in a brutal attack which was captured on CCTV.

Hord continued to stab her even as they both lay on the floor following attempts by onlookers to stop him.

Mrs Willsher suffered five slash wounds and 11 stab wounds to her head and body, one of which bent the knife.

Police found the crossbow in Hord’s vehicle in the Aldi car park along with 50 bolts, a large amount of diesel and cable ties.

Sentencing Hord in March, Judge Hall said: “You are a monster, Mr Hord.”

The judge said the killing was calculated to cause the “maximum pain, horror, shock and trauma” and told Hord he may never be released from prison.

In a statement read to the court at that time, Mrs Willsher’s husband, Malcolm, said he was worried that Hord would get out and harm their four-year-old daughter, Megan.

Lawyers for Hord, who watched his appeal hearing over a video-link from prison, argued that the original sentence was too long.

Mr Justice Goose, sitting with two other judges, said Judge Hall had set “too high” a minimum term.

JUSTICE SECRETARY MUST BRING DOWN NUMBER OF PRISONERS SENTENCED FOR PUBLIC PROTECTION STILL IN JAIL YEARS AFTER TARIFF, SAYS CHIEF INSPECTOR

exerciseDecisive action must be taken by the Justice Secretary to reduce the number of prisoners with a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) who are still in prison years after the end of their tariff, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Significant failings in the prison, probation and parole systems have contributed to the high number of prisoners unable to secure release by showing their risk had reduced, he added. Today he published a report, Unintended consequences: finding a way forward for prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment for public protection.

The report outlines the ongoing challenges of managing and progressing the large number of prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) who remain in prison in England and Wales. The sentence was introduced in 2005 and was designed for those who had committed specified ‘serious violent or sexual offences’ and who were deemed to pose a ‘significant risk of serious harm’ in the future. Under the sentence, high-risk individuals would serve a minimum term in prison (their tariff), during which time they would undertake work to reduce the risk they posed. When sufficient risk reduction had been achieved, they would be released by the Parole Board.

If at the end of their tariff, their risk had not been reduced sufficiently, they would continue to be detained until they had satisfied the Parole Board that they could be safety managed in the community. Most tariffs were relatively short, with an average of three years and five months. The sentence was abolished in 2012. Between 2005 and 2012, a total of 8,711 sentences were issued by the courts. As of September 2016, 3,859 of those prisoners sentenced to an IPP were still in custody, and 87% or 3,200 of these prisoners were beyond their tariff expiry date. Over a third, 42% or 1,398 prisoners, are five or more years over tariff.

For a variety of reasons, many IPP sentence prisoners were unable to demonstrate a reduction in their risk that was sufficient for the Parole Board to direct their release. These included the prisoners not being given sufficient opportunity pre-tariff to access relevant courses, delays in them being transferred to other prisons to access programmes and inadequate support being provided to help them progress through the prison system in order to demonstrate a reduction in risk.
Inspectors found that:

  • the impact of serving an IPP sentence on a prisoner could be profound;
  • IPP prisoners fell into three broad categories: those who had not reduced their risk and remained dangerous, those who could reduce their risk if the support provided was delivered more efficiently, and those who might be deemed ready for release if delays in the offender management and parole processes were resolved;
  • many prisons did not provide good quality offender management to support IPP prisoners in their progression;
  • not all IPP sentence prisoners could access the relevant offending behaviour programmes which enable them to demonstrate a reduction in their risk;
  • open conditions and release on temporary licence (ROTL) are key ways in which IPP sentence prisoners can demonstrate a reduction in their risk prior to release, but current ROTL policy prevents most IPP prisoners from undertaking ROTL while they are still in closed category C training prisons;
  • the specialist progression regime at HMP Warren Hill was promising and provided a template for how the prison system can work with some of the most difficult IPP prisoners; and
  • the recall rate for IPP sentence prisoners was high compared with those with life sentences.

Decisive action must be taken by the Secretary of State for Justice to ensure adequate resources and timely support are available to work with IPP prisoners to reduce their risk of harm to others and to help them progress through the custodial system towards consideration for release by the Parole Board. For many IPP prisoners, it is not clear that holding them well beyond their end-of-tariff date is in the interests of public protection and therefore there are issues of fairness and justice. Secondly, the cost to the public purse of continuing to hold the high numbers of IPP prisoners is significant. Thirdly, the pressures IPP prisoners exert on the system in terms of risk management activity, demand for offending behaviour programmes and parole processes is significant. Resources are being stretched increasingly thinly.

Peter Clarke said:
“It is widely accepted that implementation of the sentence was flawed and that this has contributed to the large numbers who remain in prison with this sentence, often many years post-tariff. Some people with IPP sentences remain dangerous and need to be held in prison to protect the public. Others, however, present much lower levels of risks but system failures have impeded their progress.

“The problems with the legacy of the IPP sentence are well understood and there is an openness in government to find new and innovative solutions to the problem. The Justice Secretary needs to act quickly to ensure the consequences of mistakes made in the past do not continue to resonate for many years to come.”

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said it was a ‘vitally important’ report.

Mr Leech said: “This is a vitally important Thematic Review on the festering sore that is the scandal of IPPs trapped in the system.

“Those with loved ones serving an IPP sentenc,e and who are over tariff, should now contact their MP, asking them to demand from the Justice Secretary a statement of what she is going to do abiut IPPs and when.”

Felicity Gerry QC, leading counsel in the Supreme Court case of Jogee, that ruled in February this year the law on Joint Enterprise under which some IPP prisoners were convicted, told Converse:

“It is vital that there is a response to this valuable research which highlights the cruelty and injustice of a flawed abolished system which is being perpetuated by the lack of access to meaningful rehabilitation”

 copy of the full report can be found here

IPP Prisoners: “It Beheads Justice that they are still in jail”

ipp2While a former Minister described it as “absurd” that thousands of IPP prisoners remain in jail beyond their original terms despite the scrapping of a discredited sentencing initiative one prisons expert went further saying it ‘beheads justice’.

Ken Clarke, the senior Tory abolished Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) indeterminate sentences as justice secretary in 2012 – calling them a “stain” on the justice system.

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said: “It disgusts me, their continued detention beheads justice, it decapitates any sense of fairness and it must be brought to a halt right now.”

Many remain behind bars because of “ridiculous” rules requiring them to prove they do not pose a danger to the public, Mr Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today as he renewed calls for their release.

Current Justice Secretary Michael Gove has ordered a review of the cases where criminals have served more than the original tariff imposed by the courts.

Mr Clarke and Mr Leech spoke out after the programme highlighted the case of one such inmate.

James Ward was given an IPP with a minimum term of 10 months for arson after setting fire to his cell mattress towards the end of a year-long sentence.

But he is still locked up 10 years on with no release set.

His solicitor, Pippa Carruthers, told the BBC that subsequent fires, dirty protests, self-harm and episodes of barricading himself in are linked to his mental health.

“He becomes overwhelmed. He loses sight of what he needs to do to prove to a parole board that he is no longer a risk, and he acts destructively,” she said.

Mr Ward’s sister said they were certain he would eventually take his own life if he was kept inside.

In a series of letters written to Today, Mr Ward said prison was “not fit to accommodate people like me with mental health problems.

“It’s made me worse. How can I change in a place like this? I wake up every morning scared of what the day may hold.”

Mr Clarke told the programme: “It is quite absurd that there are people who might be there for the rest of their lives, in theory, who are serving a sentence which Parliament agreed to get rid of because it hadn’t worked as anybody intended a few years ago.

“The trouble is this ridiculous burden on the Parole Board of saying they can only release people if it’s proved to them that they’re not really a danger to the public.

“No prisoner can prove that – you never know when people are going to lose their control, what’s going to happen to them when they’re released.”

He went on: “You have a few thousand people still in our prisons with no idea when they are going to get out and a parole board that dare not let them out for fear of public attack if one of them does something serious when they said they were satisfied that they were safe. You can’t be satisfied.

“So long as prisons are overcrowded slums, so long as you don’t tackle mental health problems, you don’t tackle drug abuse properly, you don’t give people some basic education when they haven’t got any and you don’t prepare them for a job, you are actually toughening up some of these people and they are likely to be more of a risk.”

Mr Leech said: “I hope to be meeting with Michael Gove soon, and this subject will be on the agenda, it is a hideous sleight on our system of justice and people have looked the other way for too long.”

IPPs – introduced by Labour in 2003 – were a symptom of a justice policy “determined for fear of the tabloid newspapers”, he said.

It was originally estimated that 900 serious violent and sexual offenders would be subject to them but that number swelled to 6,000, some for relatively minor offences.

About 4,000 are still behind bars, 400 of whom have served more than five times the minimum term, the BBC said.

Announcing the review, Mr Gove said: “There are a significant number of IPP prisoners who are still in jail after having served their full tariff who need to be given hope that they can contribute positively to society in the future.”

Double Life killer wins anonymity case after release

silhouetteA convicted murderer sent to a psychiatric hospital has won his Supreme Court battle to keep his identity secret.

The double killer, in his 40s, who can only be referred to as “C”, succeeded in his challenge to a refusal of the Court of Appeal to grant him anonymity in legal proceedings.

C, who has had mental health problems for much of his life, was released from a secure psychiatric unit last October, just days before the Supreme Court began considering his case.

The court was told the Parole Board had agreed to his release on licence, and he was in the process of changing his name to start a new life.

Lady Hale, the court’s deputy president, ruled that an anonymity order was “necessary in the interests of this particular patient”.

The judge described C’s crime as “horrendous” and said it had caused “incalculable distress to the families of the victims”.

But without anonymity there was “a very real risk that the progress he has made during his long years of treatment in hospital would be put in jeopardy and his reintegration in the community, which was an important purpose of his transfer to hospital, will not succeed”.

The anonymity issue arose after C applied for a High Court judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision – made well before C eventually won parole – refusing him unescorted leave in the community.

Stephen Knafler QC, appearing for C, accepted that his crimes – the killing of an ex-girlfriend and her new companion – were “high up on the scale of horrific”.

But Mr Knafler argued legal challenges involving mental health patients should be held in private – or at least with the individual’s identity protected.

The case raised a point of general public importance – whether mental health patients are entitled to anonymity when involved in legal proceedings connected with their detention, care or treatment under the 1983 Mental Health Act, said the QC.

A High Court judge and three appeal court judges rejected the pleas for anonymity.

But five Supreme Court judges – Lady Hale sitting with Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath and Lord Hughes – unanimously allowed C’s last-ditch challenge to the highest court in the land.

Lady Hale said: “There is a long-standing practice that certain classes of people, principally children and mental patients, should not be named in proceedings about their care, treatment and property.”

It would be wrong to presume an order should be made “in every case”, and a balance had to be struck, said the judge.

The public had a right to know what was going on in the courts, particularly in cases involving notorious criminals, and needed to be reassured sensible decisions were being made.

But that “right to know” had to be balanced against the potential harm the disclosure of a patient’s identity could cause to the patient “and perhaps also the hospital, those treating him and other patients”.

The purpose of detention in a psychiatric hospital for treatment was “to make the patient better, so that he is no longer a risk either to himself or to others”.

“That whole therapeutic exercise may be put in jeopardy if confidential information is disclosed in a way which enables the public to identify the patient.”

The judge said victims of crime had certain rights under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

“These rights, though limited, should enable the providers (of probation services) to reassure the victims’ families in this case that the arrangements made for the discharge of the patient will not put them at risk in any way.”

Referring to C’s change of name after his case received a high level of media attention, the judge said: “He is much more likely to be able to lead a successful life in the community if his identity is not generally known.

“The risk of ‘jigsaw’ identification, of people putting two and two together, will remain despite the change of name.

“Putting all the factors into the balance, I conclude that an anonymity order is necessary in the interests of this particular patient.”

Mother fears for safety in open Prison move for Noye

noyeThe Suffolk mother of Kenneth Noye’s road rage victim has said she fears for her own safety if the killer is moved to an open prison – fears which commentators say the Ministry of Justice must ignore.

Notorious gangster Noye could be back on Britain’s streets in months after the ruling by the Parole Board.

The 68 year-old is serving a life sentence for stabbing to death electrician Stephen Cameron, 21, in a road rage attack on the M25 in Kent in 1996.

Stephen’s mother Toni said she and her husband Ken are “devastated” at the decision, which if approved would mean Noye moves to a prison where he could be given home leave, trips out and even get a job.

She said: “We are devastated. He should stay in prison, he has murdered somebody. Where’s the justice?

“I wouldn’t feel safe. I don’t trust him. I wouldn’t trust him one iota. A leopard doesn’t change his spots.

“He left our son dying in the road and absconded to Spain the next day like he didn’t have a care in the world. He didn’t care about anybody apart from himself.”

Mrs Cameron, who lives in Lowestoft, said she is appalled that her son has been robbed of his life while his killer could be free to walk the streets again.

She said: “Our son hasn’t got a life, we have lost our lives – our family has all been devastated.

“We have been denied grandchildren, a marriage. We had two foster grandchildren who were with us that day and they’ve never got over it.”

Two years before killing Stephen, Noye had been released from prison for handling bullion stolen in the Brink’s-Mat robbery.

He stabbed to death police officer John Fordham in January 1985, but was acquitted at trial after claiming he was acting in self-defence.

After killing Stephen he went on the run and was arrested in Spain two years later in 1998. In 2000 he was jailed for life with a minimum tariff of 16 years.

Mrs Cameron said “life should mean life” and urged ministers to block the Parole Board’s recommendation.

She said: “Why do they think all of a sudden that he is Mr goody two-shoes? So he is going to change all of a sudden?

“He will be the model prisoner, he’s got a life of luxury in there.

“I think this country’s justice system isn’t good enough.

“If he is in an open prison he could abscond again – like he did when he murdered our son. He went to Spain for two years, showed no remorse, left him lying in the gutter dying.

“We have been fighting in Stephen’s corner for justice, but this is not justice. He was given a life sentence with a 16-year tariff, but to me life should mean life, end of. Why should he come out and enjoy the rest of his life?”

The family is planning to write to Justice Secretary Michael Gove to urge him to block the move to an open prison.

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales, and Converse the monthly national newspaper for prisoners said Ministers could not lawfully intervene.

Mr Leech said: “Moving a lifer to an open prison is a matter for the Prison Service, it is they and not the Parole Board who decide what Category a particular prisoner should possess, and the prison in which he should be detained.

“However once the Parole Board has cleared the lifer’s path to an open prison it would be difficult for the Prison Service to ignore that, knowing it would inevitably lead to long costly legal proceedings when Kenneth Noye challenged it, as he certainly would, and rightly do so.

“The fears of victims are a consideration but they are not a basis for removing the prisoner’s right to progress towards the release the sentencing court clearly envisaged when they set his tariff at 16 years.”

Whole life sentence to be re-examined

A triple killer’s claim that his whole-life prison sentence breaches his human rights is to be re-examined by European judges.

Arthur Hutchinson’s case will be considered again after it was referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Earlier this year a judgment from the Strasbourg court ruled that there had been no violation.

However, Hutchinson applied for the case to be passed to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber. It has now emerged that his request has been accepted after it was assessed by a panel of five judges.

After an original Chamber judgment has been delivered, parties are able to ask for a referral to the Grand Chamber for fresh consideration. Requests are accepted on “an exceptional basis”, according to the ECHR’s website.

No details of the reason for referring Hutchinson’s case have been released.

The move will bring fresh scrutiny of the protracted issue of “life means life” terms.

Hutchinson was jailed in 1984 for stabbing Basil and Avril Laitner to death after breaking into the couple’s Sheffield home, and then killing one of their sons.

The judge in his original trial ruled that he should serve 18 years but then-home secretary Leon Brittan later determined he should face the whole-life tariff.

In 2008, Hutchinson had a domestic appeal against whole-life tariffs kicked out by the Court of Appeal.

He was the first Briton to challenge the sentence after a controversial ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in July 2013 that whole-life tariffs breach human rights.

The Strasbourg-based court held that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which relates to inhuman and degrading treatment – on the basis that whole-life orders were not “reducible”.

In that decision judges did not say whole-life sentences were incompatible with the convention, but that there had to be the possibility of a review at some stage and that current laws allowing for release in exceptional circumstances were unclear.

Relying on Article 3, Hutchinson claims that his whole life sentence amounts to “inhuman and degrading treatment” as he has no hope of release.

Court of Appeal judges ruled last year that the Grand Chamber was wrong when it said in a previous ruling that the law of England and Wales did not clearly provide for “reducibility”, saying the domestic law “is clear as to ‘possible exceptional release of whole-life prisoners'”.

They underlined the power given to the Secretary of State to release a prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoner’s release on compassionate grounds.

In February judges at the ECHR found by a majority that they consider the legal situation in the UK to be in line with human rights laws, ruling that in Hutchinson’s case there was no violation of Article 3 as the Secretary of State has the power to review whole-life sentences.

Mark Leech editor of the national prisoners newspaper Converse said he would expect the re examination of the whole life tariff to uphold the original decision.

Mr Leech said “It would be an extraordinary state of affairs if someone could murder three people and expect that one day they could once again walk the streets – I just dont think the public would either understand or accept that.”

Killer cleared on retrial

The Prisons Handbook 2015 – out now  /  Home Page  /  Converse Prison Newspaper

 

staceyhyde

A young woman fell to her knees sobbing as she was cleared by a jury of murdering her friend’s violent boyfriend after a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Stacey Hyde was originally convicted at Bristol Crown Court in 2010 of killing 34-year-old Vincent Francis when she was aged 17 at the flat he shared with her friend, Holly Banwell.

Miss Hyde, now 23, from Wells, Somerset, had denied murder saying she was in fear for her life but the original jury disagreed and she was sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison by Mr Justice Field.

However, in November last year, the court of appeal overturned her murder conviction and Lord Justice Laws ordered a retrial which has been held at Winchester Crown Court lasting four weeks.

Miss Hyde sobbed and wiped away tears as the judge, Mr Justice Teare, discharged her and told her she was free to leave the court.

The original trial heard that Miss Hyde, a waitress, armed herself with a 10-inch knife and stabbed Mr Francis up to 17 times.

The Bristol court was told that after stabbing Mr Francis, Miss Hyde told Ms Banwell: “I did it for you because I don’t like the way he treats you.”

Mr Justice Fields said that in sentencing Miss Hyde he had taken into consideration that the violence had been initiated by Mr Francis.

The trial heard that Miss Hyde, who had been drinking heavily that night, had gone back to Ms Banwell’s flat in Wells on September 4, 2009, after a night out.

Ms Banwell had called 999 after Mr Francis had attacked her and then Miss Hyde before the defendant then hit him back before she went and picked up a carving knife and stabbed him in the back and chest.

The jury was played the 999 call made by Ms Banwell in which she asks for help to stop Mr Francis from attacking Miss Hyde as the defendant then stabs him.

She says in the call: “My boyfriend is smashing, beating up my friend, she’s a girl and I need the police, I need the police ASAP.”

She continued: “There was a huge row and he hits me, and he started on, basically he hit me and he hit me so she hit him and now he has started on her and now they are hitting each other. I need the police.”

Ms Banwell then goes on to say: “Don’t f****** punch me, I’m on the phone to the police, don’t punch me, do you know what I mean, I’ve just got a smack in. No Stacey, put that down.”

With screaming heard in the background, she continues: “She has got a knife, she’s got a knife, she’s got a knife. She’s stabbed him. Oh my God she has stabbed him.”

The retrial has heard about Miss Hyde’s mental health with expert witnesses for the defence and prosecution disagreeing to the extent she may have suffered from a personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which can lead to a failure of impulse control.

The Winchester court was also told that the defendant had difficulty coping with stressful situations and in 2009 had been sent for urgent assessment for problematic use of alcohol, depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

 

In a statement released after the hearing, Miss Hyde said: “I would like to say thank you to Justice for Women, my legal team, friends and family for believing in me and giving me hope and strength to never give up.

“I will be forever grateful and blessed to have been given my life back.”

Her mother, Diane Hyde, said: “It’s the happiest day of my life. We’re ecstatic, very happy, can’t believe this has happened.

“We are very sad that someone died but we are very grateful for this verdict. We are very proud of Stacey who has shown great courage and dignity throughout this nightmare.

“It’s been five years of knowing the verdict was wrong in the first place, my daughter wouldn’t knowingly hurt anyone and none of us know what we would do if we are in fear.”

A spokeswoman for Justice for Women criticised the prosecution as the “unnecessary and costly murder retrial of a damaged and vulnerable young woman”.

She said: “Justice for Women have supported Stacey since 2011 throughout a series of appeals.

“We are delighted that justice has finally been done and that Stacey will now be able to receive the support she needs instead of being unjustly punished for her own vulnerability and fear.”

The spokeswoman said that the retrial had been unnecessary because Miss Hyde had been willing to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter on the grounds that she was acting out of self-defence.

She added that even prosecution psychiatric witnesses had agreed that Miss Hyde had been suffering from a “number of mental disorders”.

The spokeswoman continued: “A 999 call made at the time of the killing revealed that Stacey was screaming in terror throughout the incident and that her former friend Holly Banwell, despite her evidence to the contrary, was under attack by Francis at the time of the stabbing.

“Evidence emerged of a history of violence towards women by Francis, including a former girlfriend who gave similar evidence.”

Jane Andrews to be released say Parole Board

The Prisons Handbook 2015 – out now  /  Home Page  /  Converse Prison Newspaper

janeandrews

Former royal aide Jane Andrews, who was jailed for stabbing her boyfriend to death in 2001, is to be released from prison, the Parole Board has said.

She flew into a rage when he told her he had no intention of marrying her and, while he was asleep, battered him with a cricket bat and then stabbed him to death.

The Secretary of State will now rule on her release date.

A spokesman for the Parole Board said two men and one woman made the decision and added: “We can confirm that a three member panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Jane Andrews.

“The decision to release is a matter for the Board, which is independent – arrangements and the date of the release are a matter for the Secretary of State for Justice.

“We are unable to comment further on the details of this case.”

The killer will be bankrolled into new found freedom – with a nest-egg from property sales she made in jail.

She is now set to use the cash windfall to fund her eventual release.

Last night a shocked relative of her victim warned that the former flunkey was still volatile, and posed a serious threat to men if her future relationships imploded.

Tom’s older brother Rick Cressman, aged 64 years, insisted that Andrews had never shown remorse.

And he recently warned the Parole Board examining her freedom bid not to be swayed by any belated apology she might make to achieve it.

Rick had previously said Andrews should be accompanied by a public health warning, like those on cigarette packets.

Friends are understood to have alerted his family, who wanted Andrews to stay in jail, to prepare themselves for her release which the three man Parole Board yesterday approved.

Rick insisted yesterday: “Her getting parole is against our wishes and is a devastating blow to all of us.”

Andrews has already served an extra two-years on top of the 11 year life sentence tariff imposed at the Old Bailey in 2001.

She subsequently lost a previous freedom bid on the grounds that she remained a danger to the opposite sex.

Now aged 46 years, Andrews stabbed her ex stock broker partner with a kitchen knife and battered him with a cricket bat before fleeing – leading to her former boss, Sarah Ferguson, appealing for her to surrender.

While serving life at HMP Send, near Guildford, Surrey, she sold her flat overlooking Battersea Park, London, two-years-ago, making a reported £300,000 profit.

This enabled her to buy another dwelling, a terraced house in Angmering, near Worthing, West Sussex, costing around £300k – which again she sold recently.

It means that the working class girl from Grimsby, the ambitious daughter of a joiner and a social worker mother, is likely to be switched to an open prison in preparation for her release.

She now has a healthy bank balance, either to invest, or help her get back on to the property ladder, when she is finally released.

Rick claimed Tom would have helped her to buy the London property, or at least made contributions to her mortgage payments, before she murdered him.

“Andrews is still devious and her personality hasn’t changed,” he insisted last night.

The volatile ex-royal aide has made three suicide attempts. Her first was when she was 15, after her mother discovered her truancy. She made a second bid after trashing the home of the son of a Greek shipping millionaire who had dumped her.

Her final bid to end her life came after she fled Tom’s murder and went on the run, hiding in her getaway car in a roadside lay by in Cornwall.

Andrews married aged 17 but divorced five years later claiming she had been abused.

Strangely, she was never punished for escaping from a previous open prison, East Sutton Park, Kent.

The £19,000 a year Royal servant, who saw Fergie’s job advertised in The Lady magazine, was jailed following a sensational trial at the Old Bailey, in which she dressed every day, head to toe, in black as if to show the jury she was in mourning.

Following his wedding snub, she murdered her partner at his home in Fulham, West London, following a holiday in Italy.

IPP Sex offender must remain detained

Clive Hall: too dangerous to release
Clive Hall: too dangerous to release

An internet groomer from Essex who believes “men have a right to sex” remains too dangerous to be let out of prison even though he has now been in custody for nine years, the High Court has decided.

A judge upheld a Parole Board ruling that Clive Hall, 44, from Roydon, remains a particularly high risk to under-age girls.

Hall was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) at Chelmsford Crown Court in June 2006 for three offences of unlawful consensual sexual activity with two girls.

Mrs Justice Simler, sitting in London, said Hall had been involved in grooming 14 and 15-year-olds while receiving treatment for his “obsession with sex”.

He had met the girls through the internet even though he was under an extended supervision order after serving a three-month sentence for possessing child pornography images.

The judge said: “He conducted himself in a deceptive and manipulative manner whilst participating in a sex offender treatment programme – giving the impression that he understood the seriousness of his earlier sexual offences and was developing victim empathy, whereas he was committing (further) offences and the risk he posed to young girls was escalating.”

Hall’s case came back before the High Court in a challenge to the legality of his ongoing detention under his IPP.

At his trial he was ordered to remain in jail for at least three and a half years, subsequently reduced on appeal to two and a half, before he could be considered for parole.

The minimum term expired in December 2008, but Hall remains detained.

Philip Rule, who appeared for Hall, argued that his sentence had become “arbitrary, and grossly disproportionate” and was a breach of his human rights because of its impact on his private and family life.

Mr Rule said no consideration had been given to the fact that IPP sentences were abolished in December 2012 under the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo).

Mr Rule argued that it was “grossly unfair” that prisoners like Hall serving indefinite sentences might be detained alongside inmates convicted of precisely the same offences after IPPs were abolished, and then have “to endure their automatic release” at the end of a fixed term.

Adding on the time Hall spent on remand, he had so far served nine years in jail – the equivalent of 18 years if he had been given a determinate sentence, said Mr Rule.

But the judge ruled that IPP sentences remained lawful and the Parole Board’s focus was rightly on the risk posed by Hall’s release.

She declared: “The Parole Board is not required to balance the public protection needed against other interests, including the interests of the prisoner and his family in his release in order to enjoy family and private life rights.”

The judge said a “considerable number of risk factors” had been identified, including Hall’s “obsession with sex, feeling inadequate, lack of intimate relationships, believing men have a right to sex, and sexual interest in teenage girls”.

The judge added: “He demonstrated on several occasions in open conditions that his capacity for deceptive, manipulative and untrustworthy behaviour and his feelings of entitlement, which were factors in his grooming of sexual victims, had not reduced.”