Murder victim’s wife wins fight for killers to face tougher checks after release

A widow has won her battle for criminals handed life sentences to undergo stricter supervision when they are released from jail.

Helen Hill, 47, whose husband David Irwin was murdered by former paratrooper Stuart Pickett, has hailed the changes a “victory for victims”.

Pickett was released for “good behaviour” after serving 10 years of a life sentence. The killer then had the right to apply for probation supervision to end only four years later.

Now, after Helen’s three-year campaign, the Ministry of Justice has informed her it has decided that all freed lifers will be supervised for at least 10 years, with a monthly probation check-in for the first five.

Describing how she felt when she was told, she said: “I was over the moon – physically shaking when I got the news.

“To know that they will now be supervised for a full 10 years is so reassuring and will put a lot of minds at rest.”

Pickett, then 22, attacked David, 30, after a sportsman’s dinner at a pub in 2002. Almost every bone in David’s face was broken and he died in hospital. His daughter Mollie was five at the time.

Pickett was jailed for a minimum of 10 years for the murder in Hale Village, Cheshire, and was released in 2013.

Helen, from the area, was told he would be monitored by the Probation Service, and she was appalled when she found out he was applying for his supervision order to be lifted so soon.

Both of his applications have been refused.

The Justice Secretary is expected to announce the changes this week.

Labour MP Derek Twigg, who campaigned with Helen, said: “I am grateful ministers listened to us.”