A grieving father is preparing to confront his son’s killer as he steps up his campaign to stop him escaping deportation and being released early from prison into the community where his family lives.
Mark Webster, 21, was stabbed to death outside a pub in Addingham, near Ilkley, on April 1, 2002, as he went to the aid of a woman being threatened with a knife by West Indian immigrant Leroy Griffith.
Griffith was jailed for life in December 2002 and told he must serve a minimum of 14 years with a recommendation that he be deported on his release.
But the Websters have learned that Griffith is being considered for a move to a Category D “open” prison as a precursor to periodic release on licence, three years short of his minimum tariff, although he would be barred from an “exclusion zone” including Addingham, Keighley, Ilkley, Menston, Otley and Skipton.
Griffith’s wife is understood to live in Menston and work in Ilkley, however, and the Websters say it is inconceivable he would not try to visit her, raising the spectre they may soon bump into him - Mr Webster’s father Tim lives in Ilkley, his mother Valerie in Addingham, while his brother Alastair lives in Menston with his children.
Mr Webster’s father is now planning to attend Griffith’s parole board hearing in April to deliver his victim statement in person, arguing against the prison transfer - despite being warned it is “unlikely” to make a difference. “I will read it to the parole board,” he said. “It’s got to be a fight to stop him getting out on licence in West Yorkshire.”
Mr Webster has written to the Home Secretary Theresa May asking for her help and is being supported in his campaign by his MP Kris Hopkins, who said he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the family in their wish to see Griffith sent back to Barbados.