"The findings of an inquiry into why a convicted murderer freed from prison was able to abduct and rape a ten-year-old boy will remain secret because its publication would infringe the killer’s right to privacy.
The Parole Board cites the Data Protection Act to justify its refusal to make public the findings of an internal review into its 2005 decision to free Stephen Ayre.
A separate internal inquiry was conducted by the Probation Service into its supervision of Ayre after his release. It was sent to the Home Office and also remains private. Ayre, 45, was jailed for life in 1985 for bludgeoning Irene Hudson, 25, to death with an iron bar. She had a mental age of 13.
He was given a minimum tariff of 14 years. His first four attempts to gain parole were rejected and he had served 20 years in prison before he was finally released, with the approval of a parole panel, in April 2005.
Ayre spent the next six months in a Probation Service hostel before he was allowed to move into rented accommodation in Shipley, West Yorkshire, in October 2005. He was still being monitored by the service. Four months later, in February last year, he lured a ten-year-old boy to his flat, promising to give him a BMX bicycle. He threatened to slash the terrified child’s throat before raping him." (Times)
So who is it that thinks it's a good idea to let dangerous guys like Ayre out on probation in the first place, let alone give them the rights to privacy apparently involved here?
Well, who's doing it then?
We can hardly blame the Parole Board. After all, they're just doing their job of freeing criminals. That's what they do.
The question is why anyone who is capable of bludgeoning a retarded young woman to death is even eligible for parole in the first place.
The Times lists five other recent similar cases, including the killer of John Monckton. As we recall, he was released after serving just six years for attempted murder, only to kill Monckton on his own doorstep three months later.
The probation service costs us £1bn pa. For that we could afford 25,000 extra prison places (50,000 if we followed the Major's plan for "value prisons"). We'd all be a deal safer.