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Dartford MP voices concerns over potential release of serial killer Patrick Mackay

By Chris Hunter

An MP has written to the Secretary of State for Justice following concerns over the potential release of serial killer Patrick Mackay.

Mackay, who used to live in Dartford and Gravesend areas, was jailed in 1975 after confessing to brutally murdering 11 people, but is now being considered for release after reportedly spending time in an open prison.

He savagely killed elderly women in their homes in London and carried out other killings before returning to Kent and killing a priest, Father Anthony Crean - hacking him to death with an axe and leaving him in a blood-filled bath in the village of Shorne.

MP demands answers about potential release of serial killer

KentOnline revealed last month Mackay could potentially be released as he is now said to be in an open prison.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson submitted a parliamentary question last month asking for details on Mackay's parole hearings.

He has since written to the Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke to express his concern over the situation, describing Mackay as a "man who is so dangerous he cannot be safely managed in the community".

In the Commons last month, the MP was told: "Patrick Mackay was convicted of three counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years in 1975.

"He became eligible for release at the end of that minimum term in March 1995.

"As a life sentenced prisoner, Mr Mackay, who is now 66, will only be released on direction from the Independent Parole Board when it is satisfied that the risk he poses can be managed safely in the community.

Patrick Mackay confessed he killed 11 people in the 70s
Patrick Mackay confessed he killed 11 people in the 70s

"The parole board has reviewed Mr Mackay’s detention on 10 occasions since 1995.

"On each occasion the parole board has decided that his risk is too high to be safely managed in the community.

"Mr Mackay’s case was most recently referred to the parole board in August 2018. His parole review is ongoing."

Mr Johnson has since written to the Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke to express his concern over the situation.

He wrote: "I am writing to you to outline my significant concerns at media reports that the above-named prisoner has been moved to open conditions and may soon be released.

"I have recently submitted a number of parliamentary questions in relation to this person and I am grateful for your Minister's response.

"May I firstly make clear that I fully respect the independent role that the parole board has in making decisions about the suitability of an individual for release.

Patrick Mackay is now being considered for parole
Patrick Mackay is now being considered for parole

"I am, however, extremely concerned at the potential danger to the public should Mr Mackay be released.

"I understand he may already have changed his name and be in open conditions.

"I understand Mr Mackay grew up in Dartford and lived in the area for most of his life.

"One of his victims, Father Anthony Crean, lived in the village of Shorne, in the neighbouring Gravesham constituency.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to raise with you formally my concerns about Patrick Mackay and the risk that he poses to the people of Dartford should a decision be made to release him back into this area.

"As you will be aware, he is Britain's longest-serving prisoner and as the parliamentary question confirms, a man who is so dangerous he cannot be safely managed in the community.

"I am aware that members of the public are now able to make a request for a copy of any decision made by the parole board on or after the 22nd May 2018.

"I would be grateful if you would be able to clarify whether any decision has been made by the Parole Board on Mr Mackay, given the ambiguity in the response provided in the parliamentary question.

Gareth Johnson (9946993)
Gareth Johnson (9946993)

"Should a decision not yet have been reached, I would be grateful for your assurances that once any such decision is made, I will be notified in order that I may request a copy of the parole decision."

Mr Johnson goes on to seek assurances that the Ministry of Justice are in possession of the contact details for the family members of Adele Price, Isabella Griffiths and Father Anthony Crean who were the known victims of Mr Mackay, and that the families of the victims are advised of any proposed release.

He adds: "I am keen to ensure that the historic nature of this case does not mean the safeguards you have rightly put in place for victims of crime are circumvented.

"Finally, I would ask for your assurances that everything possible has been done by the police to establish that there are no outstanding offences in need of investigation.

"I am aware of media reports which suggest that Patrick Mackay has confessed or is suspected of further offending, but it is unclear whether there has ever been formal investigations into these cases.

"I look forward to hearing from you.

"Should you wish to meet with me to discuss my concerns about this clearly very dangerous individual, I would be happy to do so."

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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