Our hearts are bro­ken wait­ing for truth about son’s mur­der


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By SO­PHIE HALLE-RICHARDS news­[email protected] @MENnews­desk

THE par­ents of a young dad who was stabbed to death by a vi­o­lent crim­i­nal out on li­cence say they have been left ‘heart­bro­ken’ after his in­quest was put on hold for a second time.

Michael Hoolickin, 27, was knifed five times by Tim­o­thy Deakin out­side a pub in Mid­dle­ton after the dad-of-one chas­tised him for hit­ting a woman.

At the time, Deakin, 23, had been on li­cence with 10 con­di­tions at­tached after he was re­leased from prison, hav­ing served half of a four-year and eight-month sen­tence for bit­ing half a man’s ear off.

A pre­vi­ous hear­ing in June last year was put on hold so that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions could be car­ried out to de­ter­mine whether Deakin should have been re­called to prison prior to mur­der­ing Mr Hoolickin.

In­for­ma­tion only emerged on the second day of the pre­vi­ous in­quest that Deakin had been sus­pected of breach­ing his li­cence con­di­tions on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions by car­ry­ing weapons, deal­ing drugs and spend­ing time with a co-de­fen­dant.

As Mr Hoolickin’s in­quest re­sumed, the court was told by Deakin’s pro­ba­tion case man­ager that she be­lieved the thug should have been re­called months be­fore com­mit­ting the mur­der.

Case man­ager Na­talia Atkin­son said the thresh­old for re­call in Deakin’s case had been ‘firmly met.’

But as the Hey­wood hear­ing en­tered its second day, Coro­ner for north Manch­ester Joanne Kears­ley halted the in­quest for a second time after new con­cerns were raised about the way in­for­ma­tion was com­mu­ni­cated be­tween Greater Manch­ester Po­lice and the Pro­ba­tion Ser­vice. Ques­tions about the way GMP’s Spot­light team com­mu­ni­cated in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence about of­fend­ers to the pro­ba­tion ser­vice were raised, re­quir­ing ‘fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’ ac­cord­ing to Ms Kears­ley. She told the court it would be ‘man­i­festly un­fair’ for Greater Manch­ester Po­lice to an­swer those ques­tions with­out the op­tion of le­gal representation. Mr Hoolickin’s fam­ily now face an­other ago­nis­ing six-month de­lay to re­ceive an­swers about why Deakin was not sent back to prison. Ad­dress­ing his fam­ily, Ms Kears­ley said: “I know that it is with a heavy heart that you recognise the need for an ad­journ­ment and this is not how you wanted to be con­clud­ing mat­ters today. “There may be fur­ther ev­i­dence and the last thing that you want is to leave here feel­ing that we have not fully ex­plored this. “It is not an easy decision but I am go­ing to ad­journ this in­quest today to carry out fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “If we do this, we do this fully.” Tim­o­thy Deakin was re­leased from prison in Fe­bru­ary 2016, and was sub­ject to ten con­di­tions – in­clud­ing that he stay in a hos­tel for newly-re­leased of­fend­ers and abide by a cur­few – as well as agree­ing to fur­ther drug test­ing. His risk of re-of­fend­ing was deemed ‘very high,’ with a 90 per cent chance of Deakin com­mit­ting an­other of­fence Michael Hoolickin with his son El­lis within 24 months, the court was pre­vi­ously told.

Deakin’s case man­ager, Na­talia Atkin­son, de­scribed him as some­one who was ‘ef­fec­tively law­less,’ of­ten dis­play­ing ‘feral’ and ‘an­i­mal­is­tic’ be­hav­iour.

She told the court she was aware of a num­ber of ‘low risk’ breaches on Deakin’s record, but in June 2016, po­lice re­layed ‘in­tel­li­gence’ that Deakin had been seen car­ry­ing weapons and spend­ing time with a pre­vi­ous code­fen­dant.

The court heard that the issue of ‘in­tel­li­gence’ had been a grey area within the pro­ba­tion ser­vice, with dif­fer­ing views on how much weight to at­tach to in­tel­li­gence about an of­fender, as op­posed to an ar­rest or charge.

De­spite claims from Ms Atkin­son that she es­ca­lated her grow­ing con­cerns about Deakin’s risk of harm to a num­ber of se­nior pro­ba­tion of­fi­cers, a decision to re­call him to prison was never made.

After eight months at large, in Oc­to­ber 2016, Deakin went on to mur­der Michael Hoolickin.

Hear­ing news of the fur­ther de­lay, Mr Hoolickin’s par­ents - who have at­tended ev­ery court hear­ing - said they were ‘ab­so­lutely heart­bro­ken.’

Speak­ing to the M.E.N., they said: “We are ab­so­lutely heart­bro­ken that the in­quest has to be ad­journed for a second time but we have only ever wanted the high­est scru­tiny and ac­count­abil­ity for Michael’s death.

“While it will be dif­fi­cult for us as a fam­ily to con­tinue to wait for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to be com­pleted, our main pri­or­ity is to en­sure that this will not hap­pen to any­one else.”

Tim­o­thy Deakin is cur­rently serv­ing a life sen­tence with a min­i­mum of 27 years after he was con­victed of Mr Hoolickin’s mur­der by a jury in 2017. The in­quest will re­sume for the second time on July 22. Killer Tim­o­thy Deakin was out of prison on li­cence

Michael Hoolickin’s par­ents Garry and Les­ley

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