System failed murdered pensioner…

MURDERING rapist Trevor Hamilton has become the first convict in Northern Ireland to be told he will never be released from prison. Some comfort, perhaps, to the heartbroken Harron family, who conducted themselves with dignity throughout their ordeal. They were badly let down by serious failures in the system to monitor a devious and sexually violent man released into the community half-way through a sentence for rape, known to be likely to re-offend and an obvious danger to women. The Government has promised to act, but for the Harron’s, it’s too little, too late.

  • I heard one of the family (her son?) on the news earlier saying that if we had the same legislation as England this wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place – something to do with parole after 50% of the tariff I think – does anyone know any more about this?

  • Miss Fitz

    Beano
    I blogged this some time ago, and you might find this thread useful, I tried to covr all the detail at the time.

    Link to previous post – edited moderator

  • Belfast Gonzo

    What do you think should happen Miss F?

  • Miss Fitz

    Oh Gonzo, on which level?

    Certainly, we have the case of Hamilton, who has proven to be beyond therapeutic intervention and was and will apparently remain an active danger to all women. While there is a degree of bleeding heart liberalism beating within me, I think that when you have exhausted the options, you need to consider long term, non reversible custodial sentencing. And this what has been done here and needs to be welconmed.

    For the future, the review of serious crime needs to be completed, and it is soooo not rocket science. Serious offenders should not ever get automatic, non reviewed remission.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “Certainly, we have the case of Hamilton, who has proven to be beyond therapeutic intervention and was and will apparently remain an active danger to all women. While there is a degree of bleeding heart liberalism beating within me, I think that when you have exhausted the options, you need to consider long term, non reversible custodial sentencing. And this what has been done here and needs to be welconmed. ”

    How many bites of the apple shall the defendant be entitled to before we can be considered to have “exhausted all the options,” Missfitz? I apologize if I sound brusque, but how shall we empower the bureaucrats to make this determination?

  • Miss Fitz

    Dread
    No words can describe the awfulness of what has happened here, and the fact that the very system that is meant to protect us unleashed such an individual on to the streets.

    I am trying to be moderate and temperate in my language, but the fact remains that if Hamilton had been evaluated before his remission, he may never have been let out on the street.

    That is the real scandal of this case.

  • Seán

    In the US they have places where guys like this cannot get relwased from.

  • bertie

    God

    This is not an easy one to call, but I think that once someone has committed acrime of this nature, you have to err on the side of future victims, i.e. trying to ensure that there aren’t any. If we could have a syste where we could lock them up before they do anythng, that would be better. However how can you tell that they would have unless they do.

  • Miss Fitz

    Just finished watching the chilling and shocking Spotlight programme on this murder.

    I named one area where there was a scandalous lack of accountability, I had no idea there were so many others.

    Declan Lawn said the case was a shambles, and he wasnt too far wrong.

    On one hand, the authorities have said that they did not have the evidence to tell the neighbours this guy was out of jail. On the other hand, they said the responsibility to tell the police he was breaking the terms of his bail lay with the neighbours.

    Jesus help us. I was stunned by this. Letters went missing, unanswered, unaccounted for. No joined up thinking, no communication. He was fined for driving without a license, and Probation felt that the car was the central point of his crime, but the Police didnt tell Probation about this violation

    I just feel that despite the brave words of her husband who didnt lay blame, we need to ask searching deep questions about the failure of the system to protect the women of Strabane, and the fact that this failure was ultimately fatal

  • Fanny

    Sen

    “In the US they have places where guys like this cannot get relwased from.”

    In the US they also have lawyers who would advise the Harron family to sue the state and win millions in damages, and ensure that the state doesn’t fuck up like this again.

    And Hanson. “I shall be looking at this [the automatic 50% reduction]”. So why doesn’t he look at it this very night, sign it into law tomorrow? He has that power hasn’t he in the absence of devolved government?

  • Miss Fitz

    Fanny
    To be fair, he intimated that he is going to do this, as quickly as he can. We should at least give him the weekend, but no more than that.

    All women should be outraged by this and demand immediate action for our protection, and in memory of Attracta Harron, for whom it will be too late, but lest we forget

  • Fanny

    Miss Fitz, you can visit the Belfast Telegraph petition page and add your name: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=701273

    I seem to recall Hanson muttering something about October but could be wrong.

  • Miss Fitz

    Thanks Fanny. As per my first post, I encouraged everyone to do this when the petition started, but its a good reminder

  • Comrade Stalin

    All women should be outraged by this

    I’m not a woman, but I’m sure I should be outraged as well (which I am).

    I like Fanny’s idea about suing the state. I am sure that is an option which will be open to the Harron family.

  • GPJ

    No concurrent sentencing, life should mean life, let the prisons be a deterrent not a detour before recommitment.

    Have we thought of the fact that probation is more cost efficent in the six counties than a prison sentence and that this has a bearing on sentencing.

    Crimes against the person should get longer sentences than crimes against property.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “MURDERING rapist Trevor Hamilton has become the first convict in Northern Ireland to be told he will never be released from prison.”

    Life imprisonment is not a suitable punishment for what that bastard Hamilton did to Ms Harron. A Strabane girl who went to uni with me in 1st year and with whom I was good friends knew Attracta Harron. She was her local librarian and told me “she wouldn’t hurt a fly” and was thought highly off in the local community.

    I am not a redneck Texan comfortable with Bush’s Republican policy on capital punishment as I feel it drags us down to the murderer’s moral level, so would not normally advocate the death, but I feel the state should have the power to make exceptions in cases of extreme evil…I believe this is one such case and I say HANG HAMILTON, HANG HIM HIGH!

  • Fanny

    Concerned Loyalist

    I share your anger and my gut feeling agrees with you. But I cannot EVER condone capital punishment. The thought of a possible miscarriage of justice brings me out in goosebumps.

    Put him in jail for the rest of his days. Don’t give him toys to play with, like dumbells and TV. Make him feel every day that his fellow citizens don’t approve of his dirty deeds. Who knows, maybe he’ll change in time. It wouldn’t be the first time a guy found the truth in a prison cell.

    But for fuck’s sake keep him away from us and our families!

    Miss Fitz: didn’t notice your link to the petition. Friday night eh?

  • bertie

    This family have been through hell. It is dreadful to think how unneccessaty their anguish has been. What the asnwer is I don’t really know, I just wish that there was one. I’m sure that the family realise that almost everyone is on their side in the matter, whatever comfort can come from that knowledge, I don’t know.

  • joeC

    Bertie

    I am a member of Attracta’s extended family and can tell you that all of the family have greatly appreciated the outpouring of support and prayers that they have received since the day Attracta went missing.
    Thank you all.

    i comment here regularly but for this post I have changed my name and the e-mail address is fictitious.

  • bertie

    joe

    thanks for commenting. I think that we just feel a sence of helplessness about things like this.

  • Young Fogey

    I’m normally a bleeding heart liberal on sentencing especially for non-violent crimes, and my stomach churns slightly when I think of countries where life with no possibility of remission is used routinely and high-security prisons come complete with their own geriatric wing.

    On the other hand, everything that has emerged about Hamilton during this case has made it clear that he will be a danger to women for as long as he is physically capable of being so and I can only commend the judge for the sentence he imposed.

    I don’t agree with Concerned Loyalist – make one exception and where do you draw the line for the next exception – but I can understand exactly why you feel the way you do.

  • Sen

    He was a recividist criminal. How are they to be dealt with especially when they attack people and not property?

  • Jo

    I cannot QUITE bring myself to support capital punishment (tho Ian Huntley being mentioned in an argument carries some weight for me) but I would like to think that the novelty value of a story which basically consists of a life sentence meaning just that, should become less of a novelty in the future.

    He ain’t the only one who deserve to have the key thrown away. Such people should be let live with the memories and guilt for what they have done. Death or annihiliation prevents them from being eaten by their own conscience.