Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jilted lover who stabbed ex-girlfriend to death was released by British judge despite vowing to kill her

A violent ex-bouncer accused of imprisoning his former partner and threatening to kill her was freed by a judge, only to ambush her as she left work and stab her to death. Alan Entwistle, who had assault convictions dating back to the 1970s, had been locked up after warning mother-of-two Claire Atkinson he would stab her if she didn’t take him back. But days later his lawyer appeared before Judge Stuart Baker who agreed to grant the 52-year-old bail - against the wishes of police and prosecutors.

Entwistle - who had warned his ex-lover ‘If I can’t have you, no one will’ - was merely instructed not to contact Miss Atkinson and to stay away from her home town. However the following month he stalked the 31-year-old as she walked home from work then pounced on her, stabbing her 13 times then dragging her into the passenger seat of his car. He drove around with her body alongside him before crashing into another car, when rescuers made the horrific discovery.

Yesterday, as Entwistle began a life sentence after admitting her murder, renewed questions were being asked about the readiness of the courts to free violent offenders. Entwistle, described as a possessive bully, first attacked Miss Atkinson last January, pushing her face down on a mattress at their home in Fleetwood, Lancashire.

She was reluctant to testify against him, but then in March he threatened her and refused to let her out of the car for three hours. Producing a large knife, he told her ‘that’s what you are going to get’. The following day she moved his belongings out, at which he told her ‘You only have a week, you ******* slag, you have had it’, Preston Crown Court heard. On March 7 he was charged with false imprisonment and remanded in custody. But five days later at a bail application before Judge Baker, he was freed.

Suspicions quickly grew Entwistle was stalking her – he gatecrashed a family christening and told a friend he knew she had spent the night with her. On April 17 he was seen driving near the supermarket where she worked. He killed her later that day.

Judge Anthony Russell QC jailed him for life and ordered he serve a minimum of 21 and a half years. As he was taken down, Entwistle, of Fleetwood, said ‘I’m sorry’ to her sobbing family.

Police are said to be privately furious at the decision to bail him after the earlier attack. Miss Atkinson’s father Grenville, 55, said: ‘Claire’s death has been a horrendous shock for all the family, we are devastated. Over the last few days we seem to have found some inner strength which we like to think is coming from Claire.’

Patsy McKie, of law and order campaigners Mothers Against Violence, said the courts needed to be tougher on violent offenders.

Original report here

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