Mur­derer out on day re­lease from pri­son tried to save woman vic­tim

Scottish Daily Mail - - BRAVEST MEN IN BRITAIN - By Ben Ross­ing­ton, David Bar­rett and Neil Sears

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

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