A MAN whose 12-year-old son was strangled by a sexual predator has vowed to avenge his death should the killer set foot back in Dewsbury.
Schoolboy Steven Mullins was taking a shortcut home from Birkdale High when 37-year-old alcoholic Richard Mortimer pounced on him in Caulms Wood, in November 1982.
He was jailed for life, but now Michael and Margaret Mullins have been told Mortimer is being released on license – and they fear he could even be in the town’s Albion Street bail hostel, a half-way house for some of Britain’s worst sex offenders.
The family say West Yorkshire Probation Trust have refused point blank to address their concerns.
Family, friends and the police were searching desperately for Steven when his partiallly clothed body was found. He had been strangled using his school tie.
Mortimer went on the run to Scotland where police told the family he also attempted to attack two other children. He was eventually caught some weeks later, back in Dewsbury.
The killer had shaved off his beard but was recognised by staff in the Park Hotel in Earlsheaton, close to where his late mother lived, and less than a mile from the Mullins home in Pennine Road.
When Mortimer belatedly changed his plea to guilty at Leeds Crown Court, Michael had to be restrained as he tried to attack his son’s killer.
“If they let Mortimer free, he will strike again,” warned Michael, at 67 the same age as his son’s killer.
“Wherever that man is in the country, no children are safe. He should never be freed.”
Mr Mullins said the family have been told nothing except that Mortimer has been moved to an ‘open’ establishment where he will be slowly introduced back into society.
“They sent us a map showing he was excluded from Dewsbury town centre, but we live half a mile outside town, close to Caulms Wood where he killed our boy,” added the retired joiner.
“Why would they send us a letter and a map saying he can’t go in Dewsbury town centre if he wasn’t somewhere in the vicinity?
“We have grandchildren in this area, but no one’s children are safe anywhere while that man is at liberty.
“I said it on the day it happened and I’ve vowed it every day since, but if ever I see Richard Mortimer, I will kill him. It’s my turn now – let’s see if he can face a man and not a vulnerable child.”
He went on: “We’ve not been consulted about this, simply informed that Mortimer has been declassified from Category B to a Category D establishment where he will get escorted visits and eventually be allowed to roam unaccompanied.
“He should never be allowed to set foot in public again. No child is safe with a man like that. I thought victims’ families were supposed to be consulted on the terms of release but it hasn’t happened with us.
“We’ve asked why he served 30 years when his recommended tariff was 16 years.
“We’ve asked for reassurances that he can’t return here, but no one will give us answers. We’ve never even been told exactly what he did to Steven.”
Mr Mullins added: “Mortimer took our son and he left us with a life sentence – a whole life sentence, not just 30 years.
“I don’t care what happens to me, but if I ever get my hands on that man, I will kill him.”
Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell has taken up the Mullins case with the authorities.
Andrew Chandler, Head of Interventions at West Yorkshire Probation Trust, said: “We recognise how difficult this process can be for the victim and their family members.
“In this case the Victim Services Team has and will continue to ensure the victim’s family are fully aware of any changes to the offender’s circumstances and are empowered to have their voice heard if they want to.”