‘A few weeks and he could be out, walking the streets’
‘Parents’ agony as woman’s killer is set for parole release
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