Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CHNEWS to 80360, or email
Justice Secretary makes ruling in Addingham murder case
10:00am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has stepped in to stop a murderer who stabbed a man to death outside an Addingham pub being transferred to an open prison.
The family of 21-year-old Mark Webster, murdered outside The Fleece pub on Main Street by Leroy Griffith in 2002, feared the killer could soon return to within three miles of their homes, under conditions of weekend visits to Leeds, if he is moved to a Category D prison.
Griffith was given a life sentence in December 2002, and it was later confirmed he should serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.
Mark Webster’s father, Tim, read a statement at a parole hearing several weeks ago, in a bid to stop Barbados-born Griffith being allowed to make visits close to the Ilkley area if transferred to a lower security prison.
Mr Webster says he was more recently informed that the Parole Board had recommended the transfer should go ahead, subject to the agreement of the Secretary of State.
But Mr Grayling has gone against the recommendation, in what was said to be a rare move.
Tim Webster, of Ilkley, said: “When Victim Support rang me they said they’d never heard of it happening before.”
He added that it was “very good news” – but still feels the justice system is letting down victims’ families.
Griffith is likely to be eligible to make another application in October 2014, says Mr Webster.
The family said they would like to know what Mr Grayling’s reasons were for opposing the transfer, and if the situation may arise again in a year’s time.
He said: “For me and my family, and for other families, the justice system is failing.”
Ilkley and Keighley MP, Kris Hopkins, said he had himself spoken to Mr Grayling.
Mr Hopkins said: “I have the highest respect for Tim Webster, who has conducted himself with the utmost dignity in the most harrowing of circumstances.
“I remain determined to continue to do what I can to see that the judge’s recommendation at trial – that Griffith is deported upon release – is adhered to and that justice is properly done.
“As Mr Webster’s local MP, I have spoken several times to Chris Grayling about the case. I will happily raise any other issues or concerns Tim has directly with Mr Grayling or the relevant Secretary of State.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases. The allocation of prisoners to individual establishments is by law a matter for the Secretary of State.”