Minister blocks bid to release murderer



Have your say

JUSTICE Secretary Chris Grayling has blocked plans for the early release of a foreign criminal who stabbed a have-a-go hero to death outside a village pub in Yorkshire.

Mark Webster, 21, died instantly when he was knifed in the chest by Leroy Griffith while going to the aid of a woman he was threatening outside The Fleece in Addingham, near Ilkley, in the early hours of April 1, 2002.

Griffith was jailed for life for murder in December that year and told he must serve a minimum of 14 years, but last month the Parole Board recommended he be transferred to a Category D “open” prison as a precursor to periodic release in licence - a move Mr Webster’s family has been campaigning against.

The Ministry of Justice declined to say whether Mr Grayling’s intervention signalled a new get-tough approach on foreign criminals, but a source close to the process described it as “rare”.

Mr Webster, 57, said: “The Victim Support officer said ‘I’ve never heard of this happening before, ever’.

“I’m obviously thrilled to bits, for now, because we’ve got to go through it all again the next time he applies for parole.”

Mr Webster has been supported by Kris Hopkins, the Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley.

He said: “I’m delighted that Chris Grayling has been able to do that because sometimes you need to make really bold moves to protect people in our communities.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: “We do not comment on individual

“The allocation of prisoners to individual establishments is by law a matter for the Secretary of State.”

A  Redrow housing development in Kent, as the housebuilder pulled out of the takeover tussle for under-pressure rival Bovis Homes, saying it would not return with a higher offer. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday March 28, 2017. Redrow said it was giving up its pursuit because it had decided it was "not in its shareholders' best interests to increase its proposal" after its initial approach was rebuffed by Bovis just over two weeks ago. Photo:  Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Redrow abandons pursuit of rival housebuilder Bovis