THE family of murdered Dewsbury schoolboy Steven Mullins have expressed both their fear and fury over the impending release of his killer.
Steven, aged 12, was on his way home from Birkdale High School in November 1982 when 37-year-old Richard Mortimer attacked and killed him in Caulms Wood.
Mortimer, whose mother lived in Earlsheaton less than a mile from the Mullins home on Pennine Road, escaped to Scotland where he also tried to attack two other children, before being caught back in Dewsbury.
He made the family sit agonisingly through the prosecution part of his trial at Leeds Crown Court before changing his plea to guilty. Steven’s partially-clothed body was found by search teams. He had been strangled with his school tie.
Mortimer was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 16 years, but is only now being released some 34 years later.
Steven’s dad Michael Mullins says they have tried without luck to get answers from the authorities.
“Why has he been kept locked up for 34 years?” he said this week.
“What has he done, what is wrong with him that he’s continued to be considered a danger to the public for 34 years?”
Four years ago the family was told Mortimer was being moved to an open prison where he would eventually be allowed out unsupervised. At that time they were assured only that he was excluded from Dewsbury town centre.
Now letters from the Probation Service have indicated Mortimer will be freed in December, and although he will be prohibited from Kirklees and Wakefield following an impact statement from Steven’s sister Louise Thewlis, a family request that Leeds be included was turned down.
“That tells me he’ll be relocated in Leeds,” said Mr Mullins, 72.
“My sister lives in Leeds and by Christmas she’ll have five grandchildren living in Leeds. The people of Leeds should know if someone like him is living amongst them, so they can protect their kids,” he said.
In addition, Louise’s 16-year-old son goes to college in the city.
“Mortimer knows us, where we live, what we look like, but no one has a clue about him,” Mr Mullins said. He added that police told the family they planned to arrest Mortimer and charge him for the attacks in Scotland if he was ever released.
“We’ve been told that isn’t going to happen now,” he said. “No-one has explained why.”
Louise wrote to the Parole Board case manager nearly a month ago but has not had a reply. She said: “There’s a thing called ‘restorative justice’ where a criminal can explain themselves or apologise to a family like ours, but we’ve never been offered that.”
Her dad said: “So far as we know, Mortimer has never shown an ounce of remorse, not once from the moment he killed Steven to now, for what he did. And now he’s going to be free to walk the streets and attack someone else’s vulnerable child.”
“Someone like that should never, ever be free,” said Steven’s mum Margaret.
“He is evil, pure evil.”