Killer of Leeds pensioner back in prison

THREE months after being freed, the burglar who killed a 91-year-old Leeds pensioner has been sent back to prison.

Mark Fitzgerald, 41, was released on licence in September but after an incident at a Leeds city centre pub he was charged and bailed then returned to prison by the probation service.

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Fitzgerald was jailed for killing Lily Myers in November 2003 after a court heard he hurled her like a "rag doll" during a break-in at her flat in Alwoodley, Leeds, on January 23 2002.

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He threw her to the floor as he snatched the 4ft 10ins pensioner's handbag while carrying a drawer containing her jewellery.

Mrs Myers was left lying in agony with a broken collar bone and fractured neck.

In hospital she developed pneumonia and died four weeks later.

Fitzgerald was arrested in April 2002 in Richmond Hill, Leeds.

He was charged with a 50,000 jewellery burglary at Guiseley and when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court on May 2 – expecting to be charged with the killing – he vaulted from the dock and fled.

He went on the run for five months and was finally re-arrested sitting outside a hospital in Birmingham where his girlfriend's baby was ill with meningitis.

At the trial in 2003, a jury at Leeds Crown Court cleared Fitzgerald of

murder but found him guilty of manslaughter, breaking into Mrs Myers's home and four other burglaries.

In 2006 the Court of Appeal quashed the manslaughter conviction and ordered a retrial over details about Mrs Myers's medical history.

But another Leeds Crown Court jury convicted Fitzgerald of manslaughter

again and the judge imposed a prison term which would mean the same time in custody as the original sentence.

In late September 2010 Fitzgerald was freed on licence to a hostel in Cleckheaton after seven years in prison. He was later moved to a hostel in Dewsbury.

Kevin Ball, operations manager for West Yorkshire Probation, says: "When an offender has been released from prison on licence, West Yorkshire Probation carefully monitors his or her behaviour.

"If the person breaches the terms of the licence, for example by being arrested and charged with another offence, Probation will instigate a prompt recall to custody. Once the offender has been returned to prison, he or she may decide to apply for parole.

"The Parole Board will in due course reach a decision on whether and when to grant parole with the help of a report from West Yorkshire Probation.

"Any new charges will be dealt with separately by the courts".

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