Mother's anger at partying killer

THE mother of a teenage murder victim has told of her disgust at seeing her daughter's killer partying in prison while serving a life sentence.

Elliot Furniss

THE mother of a teenage murder victim has told of her disgust at seeing her daughter's killer partying in prison while serving a life sentence.

Heather Knight said she was “absolutely appalled” to see pictures of Emma Last, who murdered 17-year-old Debra Carne in Sible Hedingham in 2002, made-up in ghoulish fancy dress for a prison Hallowe'en party.

Last, now 22, was one of a gang that lured Miss Carne to a country lane where she was beaten, asphyxiated and then doused with petrol and set on fire after a row over a boyfriend.

Pictures emerged yesterday of a group of some of the country's most notorious female killers enjoying the bash at Holloway Prison in London, and one of those partially hidden by the make up was Last.

Speaking from her north Essex home last night, Miss Knight, 50, said she was stunned that the prison system and its staff had allowed such an event to take place.

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She said: “I'm absolutely appalled. I just think that these people have killed somebody and they're in there having a ball - what on earth is going on?

“These people are evil - I don't understand it. Every morning and every night I go to bed and I think of how she stood there in the bushes with those two girls kicking her and pulling her hair and I can't imagine what was going through her head at the time.

“I just don't understand why they are treating it so casually.”

Miss Knight said she had not been contacted in advance by the national newspaper that first published the chilling images.

She added: “I'm just devastated. They are all smiling and laughing and having fun in the pictures and the Government is paying for this.”

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed the party took place and Justice Secretary Jack Straw has banned any more from happening.

A spokesperson: “The event last year wasn't justified and Jack Straw has ordered that this won't happen again at Holloway or any other prison.”

After a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, four people were convicted in connection with Miss Carne's death, which shocked the Sible Hedingham community.

She had spent the night at her home in the village with Steven Wood, who had been in a relationship with Nicola Hollinshead.

During the trial, the court heard that Hollinshead had become jealous and, together with Last and Kerry Bauer, hatched a plot to seek revenge.

The girls got Wood to lure Miss Carne to a remote lay-by outside the village where she was set upon by Last and Bauer, who had never even met her.

They dragged her from the car, beat her and strangled her before Last poured petrol over her and Bauer lit the match.

The jury was told that Wood sat in his car close by while Hollinshead provided an alibi for the trio at a nearby hostel.

Last, who pleaded guilty to murder, was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve at least 20 years, which was reduced to 17 on appeal.

Bauer, who was living in a hostel in Braintree with Last at the time of the killing, was found guilty of murder and handed a 17-year sentence.

Wood, 28, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of manslaughter, but was cleared of murder.

Hollinshead, 24, from Halstead, was found guilty of conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm and jailed for five years. She was cleared of murder and manslaughter.

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