Mum vows to stop killer's release

A MOTHER whose daughter was brutally murdered has pledged to fight with her life and soul to prevent the killer getting early release from prison. Ida Petherick's daughter, Ann, was murdered by Donald Mackay and the university graduate hid the 27-year-old's body for six weeks in bin bags at the flat they shared.

A MOTHER whose daughter was brutally murdered has pledged to fight with her life and soul to prevent the killer getting early release from prison.

Ida Petherick's daughter, Ann, was murdered by Donald Mackay and the university graduate hid the 27-year-old's body for six weeks in bin bags at the flat they shared.

Miss Petherick's murder only came to the attention of police when Mackay attacked a prostitute who managed to escape and alert police to the danger.

When officers were at Mackay's London flat interviewing him for the brutal assault they found Miss Petherick's hidden body.


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Mackay was jailed for 40 years at the Old Bailey in 1989 and Judge Mr Justice Kennedy branded the killer “bestial” and recommended he serve at least 30 years.

After his conviction it emerged the unemployed engineer had killed before, serving time for the manslaughter of a homeless man he stabbed with a sword.

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But Mrs Petherick, from Tiptree, was horrified to hear that the Probation Service will be reviewing Mackay's case next monthwith a view to releasing him in three years time when he has served 20 years.

The news came “like a bolt out of the blue” for the 67-year-old widow who hoped Mackay would not be released in her lifetime.

And although the Probation Service has asked for Mrs Petherick's thoughts on the possible release, she feels powerless to the prevent Mackay from walking free and killing again.

Mrs Petherick said she was fighting against Mackay's early release in honour of her daughter and husband.

“I was so gobsmacked when they told me it was up for review, I just could not take it in, I thought there had been a paperwork error.

“He will do it again, you cannot stop a man like that, the judge said he was a grave danger to the public, in particular women.

“I have begun to come to terms with it a little bit in the last 17 years and tried to get on with my life, but since I found out about this I have been ill with worry.

“I would bring back hanging if it is 100% sure the person did it, if there are doubts, then it should not be used though.”

Mr and Mrs Petherick sat through the whole of Mackay's trial and although they did not find out exactly how their daughter died, it was clear she had suffered horrific injuries.

Christopher Petherick died in 2004 but Mrs Petherick said her husband had taken some comfort believing Mackay would never be freed again.

Mackay is now 58 and is serving his time in a high-security prison although he could soon be downgraded to an open prison.

Mrs Petherick is set to meet her MP, Bernard Jenkin, later this week as she begins her campaign.

“I will be asking for the 30 years that the judge at the trial asked for because he is a brutal killer - really he should never come out.

“I have been deprived of ever having grandchildren, I would love to have grandchildren playing around my house, but there is no one here,” she said.

The Home Office does not comment on individual cases, but at the time when Mackay was sentenced Government ministers were responsible for setting tariffs.

In a letter seen by the EADT, the Home Office revealed the Lord Chief Justice only recommended 16 years minimum tariff, which the Government then set to 20 years.

It stated: “It is clear from the report that the 30-year recommendation made in open court reflected the judge's assessment of future risk and therefore could not be regarded as a tariff recommendation.”

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