Imprisoned “for life” but released to kill again: 129 criminals sentenced to double life in 10 years

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Dozens of killers, rapists and pedophiles released from prison received second life sentences for other offenses.

Over the past decade, 129 felons imprisoned for life have again been sentenced to the same sentence.

The numbers will rekindle the row over the role of the Parole Board amid controversies over Black Cab rapist John Worboys and child killer Colin Pitchfork.

The data, released by the Justice Department under freedom of information laws, shows 17 criminals were sentenced to a second life sentence in 2019.

One was jailed for murder after having previously been sentenced to life imprisonment for the offense.

Stephen Unwin, 42, and William McFall, 53, were both jailed for separate murders in the 1990s of pensioners they attacked and robbed. Upon their release, they teamed up and murdered the mother of two, 28-year-old Quyen Hgoc Nguyen. The two men were both sentenced to a second life.

Quyen Hgoc Nguyen, 28, from North Tyneside, tortured and robbed by Unwin and McFall after being released from prison

Quyen Hgoc Nguyen, 28, from North Tyneside, tortured and robbed by Unwin and McFall after being released from prison

In another case, a man convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment found himself in court to receive another life sentence for a separate rape.

A pedophile sentenced to life behind bars for raping a child was also given a second life sentence for a similar sexual assault on a young person.

Last year there were fewer “double life” – in large part because the pandemic has brought fewer offenders to court.

However, among them were a repeat rapist, a cocaine trafficker who had previously been jailed for attempted rape of a girl, and an offender jailed for attempted murder who had previously received a life sentence for murder. .

Some of the lifers are believed to have committed their second offense while still in prison for the first life sentence – by attacking inmates.

Others were able to serve a life sentence when evidence came to light of another crime committed before their incarceration.

But many of those double life convicts will be convicts who have been released from prison back into the community for committing a second appalling offense.

Paul O'Hara (pictured), 46, murdered his girlfriend Cherylee Shennan in 2014, a year after he was released from a life sentence for killing his former partner Janine Waterworth  He had killed Miss Waterworth, 20, by ambushing her with a knife at a bus stop in Oldham in 1998.

Paul O’Hara (pictured), 46, murdered his girlfriend Cherylee Shennan in 2014, a year after he was released from a life sentence for killing his former partner Janine Waterworth He had killed Miss Waterworth, 20, by ambushing her with a knife at a bus stop in Oldham in 1998.

O'Hara stabbed Cherylee Shennan (pictured) to death after she exposed him for domestic violence, following her release from prison for a previous murder

O’Hara stabbed Cherylee Shennan (pictured) to death after she exposed him for domestic violence, following her release from prison for a previous murder

David Spencer, director of research for the Center for Crime Prevention, said: “It is shocking that so many serious offenders have been released early to commit other horrific offenses.

“These data should serve as a wake-up call for all those who plead for the early release of criminals.

“It is clear that the Parole Board made serious mistakes in all of these cases and this must raise the question of whether the guidelines need to be tightened to prevent similar mistakes from being made.”

A spokesperson for the probation service said: “A number of these second sentences were for historic felonies or misdemeanors committed in detention – not under supervision after release from prison. Licensed violators are subject to strict conditions and less than 0.5 percent are convicted of a new serious offense while under surveillance. ‘

In 2018, the board ruled that Worboys could be released after serving ten years for a series of sexual assaults – but a court challenge led to the ruling being overturned.

Earlier this year, the board authorized the release of Pitchfork, who raped and murdered two 15-year-old girls in the 1980s. He was released on September 1 but was recalled to jail just three months more late after showing “worrying behavior”. Sources said he made several representations to adolescents and young women.

Among those sentenced to double life is Ian Birley, 45, who served 18 years of a life sentence for the murder of a Barnsley retiree in 1996.

After being released on license, he teamed up with his girlfriend before following John Gogarty, 65, to his home in the South Yorkshire town and stabbing him to death.

Sexual assailant Leroy Campbell, 60, received a second life sentence for the rape and murder of nurse Lisa Skidmore, 37, in Bilston, West Midlands, in 2016.

He had only been released four months earlier after serving 17 years of a previous life sentence for another rape.

David Mitchell, 51, was originally sentenced to life for the murder of his girlfriend Kathleen McKenzie in 1990. He served 23 years before being released and, in four months, murdered his gay lover Robert Hind, 46. , in a drunken rage.

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