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Father of murdered Addingham man fears killer could return to area
10:00am Sunday 10th February 2013 in News
The father of a murdered Addingham man is calling on the Home Secretary to prevent his son’s killer returning to the area.
Tim Webster claims murderer Leroy Griffith could be allowed to make weekend visits to the area in several months’ time, if he is transferred to a low-security Category D prison.
And Mr Webster fears Griffith may eventually be able to challenge exclusion zone restrictions when he is released on parole, enabling him to live in the area, near to members of the Webster family.
Mr Webster’s son, Mark, 21, was fatally stabbed by chef Griffith when he tried to intervene in an incident in the car park of an Addingham pub in April 2002.
Griffith, who denied the charge of murder, was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court later the same year and handed a minimum tariff of 14 years in prison.
He is eligible to apply for parole in 2016, when he is 51.
But a victim support officer recently informed Mr Webster that Griffith is to be considered for transfer from a Category C to Category D prison.
If this goes ahead, Mr Webster was told, Griffith could soon be eligible for weekend visits to Leeds. An exclusion zone would be created to prevent him returning to the Ilkley area – where the Webster family live – but the killer could come as close as Yeadon.
Mr Webster says this is too close to his family’s homes and workplaces.
He said: “He was the one supposed to be sentenced to life. We never forget Mark, every day I think about him. Why should I and my family have to keep trying to ensure he is made to live elsewhere?”
Mr Webster has also called for Griffith, originally from Barbados, to be deported.
He gained support from local MP Kris Hopkins last year, who said Griffith should not be allowed to set foot in Ilkley again.
Although the family’s views are expected to be taken into account when Griffith eventually applies for parole, Mr Webster fears Griffith may eventually be able to gain permission to live in the area once more.
“The reality is, he is going to be back in Ilkley in five years’ time,” said Mr Webster.
The Ministry of Justice this week said it was unable to comment on individual cases.