‘A few weeks and he could be out, walk­ing the streets’

‘Par­ents’ agony as woman’s killer is set for pa­role re­lease

Rochdale Observer - - WHAT’S ON WITH ALL ACROSS THE ARTS - Sam.yarwood@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @sam­yarwood89

TWENTY years ago, Paul Stow­ers bru­tally mur­dered Liane Sin­gle­ton be­fore dump­ing her mu­ti­lated body in bin bags.

He was jailed for life for the hor­rific crime – but in a few weeks, he will be back walk­ing the streets.

Liane was just 18 when she died, and Stow­ers has never re­vealed a mo­tive for killing her.

Her par­ents Gor­don and Jacky Sin­gle­ton, from Shaw, were dev­as­tated to learn ear­lier this year that the man who took their daugh­ter from them was up for pa­role, and launched a cam­paign to keep him be­hind bars.

Liane was stran­gled, punched and stamped on be­fore her body was dis­mem­bered with a butcher’s knife.

Her re­mains were then dumped in the back yard of a house in Hollinwood in May 1998.

Seven months later, Stow­ers – who claimed in court to have suf­fered from a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der – was given a life sen­tence after plead­ing guilty to Liane’s mur­der, which was set at a min­i­mum of 15 years.

Now, after serv­ing al­most 20 years, he has been granted pa­role and will be re­leased on li­cence within a mat­ter of weeks.

Gor­don, 60, said his fam­ily were sick­ened by the news.

“He could be out in as lit­tle as six weeks,” he added. I’m not sure where we are go­ing to go from here; it feels like we have come to the end of the road again.

“There is noth­ing we can do to make the pa­role board change their minds.

“Un­less some­one agrees to look at the case and re­view it, then we will have to live with what comes our way.”

Ear­lier this year, Jacky, 58, told how she was haunted by the thought of Stow­ers’ re­lease. She said: “It’s aw­ful think­ing about it.

“A few weeks and he could be out, walk­ing the streets. It wasn’t too bad when we knew he was locked away, we didn’t have to worry about him.

I mean, there would be times when I’d walk down the street and see some­one who looked like him and it would stop me in my tracks, but at least we knew he was locked up.

“But now know­ing he’s so close to be­ing re­leased and can taste free­dom, it makes you sick.”

It is still hoped that the cam­paign will make a pos­i­tive im­pact go­ing for­ward.

In July, a 3,000 sig­na­ture-strong pe­ti­tion was handed to the House of Com­mons call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to re­view the case and stop his re­lease.

It was pre­sented by Old­ham West and Roy­ton MP Jim McMa­hon on be­half of MP for Old­ham East and Sad­dle­worth, Debbie Abra­hams, who backed the Sin­gle­tons’ calls.

On Mon­day, Ms Abra­hams raised the is­sue again in Par­lia­ment, say­ing the cou­ple have felt ‘dread­fully let down by the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem’.

Re­spond­ing, Ed­ward Ar­gar MP, the Par­lia­men­tary Un­der-Sec­re­tary of State for Jus­tice, said the mat­ter of re­con­sid­er­ing pa­role de­ci­sions had been con­sulted on, and that the re­sponses were be­ing ‘care­fully con­sid­ered’. ●●Dad Gor­don Sin­gle­ton with a pic­ture of at Liane. He said the fam­ily were sick­ened by the news of Stow­ers’ im­mi­nent re­lease

He added that there would be a full re­view of all pa­role board rules and that changes were also be­ing made to the vic­tim con­tact scheme, in­clud­ing new train­ing for vic­tim li­ai­son of­fi­cers.

Gor­don said he and Jacky will con­tinue to cham­pion the ‘life should mean life’ cam­paign.

“I hope that what we have done has high­lighted the prob­lem with the sys­tem,” he con­tin­ued.

“Life should mean life, and we will con­tinue to cham­pion that. Not just for us, but I’m hop­ing in the fu­ture that other people won’t go through what we have been through.

“It is sick­en­ing, it re­ally is. You just feel like ev­ery­thing that you have tried to do to get jus­tice for Liane has been a waste of time.

“But if this gets people talk­ing about the is­sue and re­al­is­ing they need to make a change then that is a pos­i­tive thing.”

Ms Abra­hams added: “After hav­ing met Gor­don and Jacky and lis­ten­ing to the de­tails of the ter­ri­ble trauma they and their fam­ily have been through I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing I can to help them keep Liane’s killer be­hind bars.

“The po­lice said at the time that this man would re­main a dan­ger to women for the rest of his life so we have to do ev­ery­thing we can to make sure that he doesn’t get the chance to harm any­one else.”

●●The fam­ily’s fight to keep Stow­ers in prison for life made head­lines in the 1990s and Gor­don and Jacky say they will con­tinue to cham­pion the ‘Life means life’ cam­paign

●●MPs Jim McMa­hon and Debbie Abra­hams have both backed the Sin­gle­tons

●●Paul Stow­ers was jailed for life for killing Liane and has served al­most 20 years be­hind bars

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