Murderer out on day release from prison tried to save woman victim
ONE of the heroes of yesterday’s attack is a convicted murderer out on day release, it emerged last night.
James Ford tried to save the life of a woman victim of the terrorist, according to his father.
Now 42, Ford was jailed for life – with a minimum of 15 years – in April 2004 for the murder of a 21year-old with learning difficulties.
Amanda Champion – who had the mental age of a 15-year-old – was found strangled and with her throat cut on waste ground near her home in Ashford, Kent, the previous July.
Amanda’s family had tried to block Ford’s parole, and only found out he had been released from his sentence in a call from their police liaison officer yesterday. Whitehall sources confirmed that Ford – who had been serving the final days of his sentence at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison in Kent – was on London Bridge yesterday.
Amanda’s aunt Angela Cox, 65, was left shocked and angry after the phone call from Kent Police.
Despite Ford’s part in disarming the knifeman, Mrs Cox said: ‘He is not a hero. He is a murderer out on day release, which us as a family didn’t know anything about.
‘He murdered a disabled girl. He is not a hero, absolutely not.
‘The police liaison officer called me saying he was on the TV. I am so angry. They let him out without even telling us. Any of my family could have been in London and just bumped into him.
‘It was a hell of a shock. It is a horrible thing. She said, “Have you heard about the incident in London today?” and I hadn’t. She said, “Put in on now and you will see James Ford on the telly.”
‘She said, “Don’t worry, it is not him that’s done anything, he’s there and he is being classed as a hero.” For him to be called a hero – he is not, he is a cold-blooded murderer. For no reason whatsoever, he just went out and murdered a disabled person. I don’t care what he’s done today, he’s a murderer. He is scum. Amanda was my niece and she was vulnerable and he took her life. He knew what he was doing. People don’t change.’ Ford has never revealed his motive for killing Amanda. His father Gerald told the Daily Mail at the family home in Ashford, Kent, that his son was full of remorse for his crime, and was on day release seeking work when he found himself on the right side of the law. Mr Ford said: ‘He was on London Bridge this afternoon giving CPR to a young lady, saving her life – and then she died.
‘He was on day release from prison, which he has occasionally. He was seeking work with regard to the maths degree he’s got in prison.
‘He’s going for his masters and a doctorate. He’s proud of what he achieved in prison.’
In 2004, a judge told Ford: ‘What you did was an act of wickedness.’
Last night the Ministry of Justice declined to comment.
Jailed for life: James Ford