The Parole Board has apologised after a Merseyside murder victim’s parents were among the last to learn the killers could be moved to open prisons, MPs have heard.
Geraldine and Peter McGinty previously overheard a judge saying their victim statements made ”no difference” when considering parole for the killers of their son Colin, who was stabbed to death in 2001.
Earlier this month, the pair said they felt “let down” after hearing Michael Brown and Gary Hampton could be moved to open prisons following private parole hearings.
The couple told the BBC they expected details of the killers’ next hearing in advance but were only informed after it had taken place – and that they were paper hearings.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told MPs Parole Board chief executive Claire Bassett has “rightly” apologised to Mr and Mrs McGinty for the “lack of information provided to them”.
The Parole Board confirmed the apology was in relation to the communication of the hearing’s recommendation to the couple.
Speaking in the Commons, shadow justice minister Dan Jarvis told Mr Grayling: “The whole House will have been disturbed by the story of Geraldine and Peter McGinty, parents who lost their son and have been repeatedly let down by the criminal justice system.
“After hearing from a judge last year that their victim personal statement would make no different, you met with them and promised they would be kept informed about the progress of their case.
“This month they were among the last to learn their son’s killers are being released into an open prison.
“Do you agree the fact victims could be forgotten like this, even after you personally intervened in the case, shows just why we need our plan for a victims’ law?”
Mr Grayling replied: “First of all I have now met Mr and Mrs McGinty twice. I have met them together with the chief executive of the Parole Board, who has apologised to them for the lack of information provided to them – and rightly so.
“But this is about good practice, about people behaving in the right way and I’m afraid that kind of issue isn’t going to be solved by changes to the law, it’s solved by changes in culture to the system.”
In a statement, a Parole Board spokesman said: “The Parole Board is in private correspondence with the McGinty family.
“However, we can confirm that the CEO of the Parole Board has made an apology for the poor communication experienced by the McGintys.
“At this time we will not be issuing any further comment about this case.”