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Ilkley dad in emotional plea for son’s killer to be kept away
The father of a man murdered outside an Addingham pub has read an emotional statement at a parole board hearing in a bid to prevent the killer from returning to the Ilkley area.
Twenty-three-year-old Mark Webster was stabbed to death by Leroy Griffith outside The Fleece, Main Street, in 2002, when he went to the aid of a woman Griffith was threatening with a knife.
Now his father, Tim Webster, 57, has asked a parole hearing to make sure the Barbados-born chef cannot rebuild his life within hundreds of miles of the family, if it chooses to send him to an open prison.
At Griffith’s Leeds Crown Court trial late in 2002, Judge Peter Charlesworth recommended he should serve a minimum term of 14 years of his life sentence behind bars.
And Mr Webster said West Yorkshire Probation Services assured the Webster family Griffith would not be allowed to commence a rehabilitation course, or be considered for parole, until he accepted his crime.
Mr Webster claimed Griffith had still not accepted his crime, but was two years into a rehabilitation course, and his probation officer had recommended he should be allowed to spend the rest of his sentence in an Category D, or “open” prison.
This could see him allowed to make unaccompanied weekend visits to Leeds, with an exclusion zone allowing him within three miles of family members’ homes.
“Mark had just completed his apprenticeship as a plumber and was embarking on his own exciting journey in life when Griffith stopped him in his tracks without appearing to have a single thought for the consequences of his actions,” Mr Webster told the hearing, at HMP Wolds, near Brough, on Friday.
Mr Webster said his father, now 83, still cannot talk about Mark without tears, Mark’s brother, Alastair, has struggled to come to terms with his death, while Mark’s mother’s marriage broke down and she is still on anti-depressant tablets.
“I still get very emotional when thinking of him,” Mr Webster told the hearing.
“In fact I get more emotional than I did 11 years ago.”
Talks about deporting Griffith – who Mr Webster says was deported from the UK at least six times in the past – have also continued with Government ministers.
Mr Webster asked the parole board to consider the judge’s recommendation of sending him back to Barbados permanently.