A killer who kicked a father to death outside his home with two other friends can be released from prison, a parole board said.
Jordan Cunliffe was one of three teenagers found guilty of killing 47-year-old Gary Newlove in an alcohol-fuelled attack in Warrington, Cheshire in 2007.
Aged just 16 at the time of conviction, Cunliffe was sentenced to serve a minimum of 12 years behind bars, which expired on August 14 2019.
The Parole Board granted Cunliffe’s release at a hearing in December 2019, but the decision was challenged by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland following a suspected alcohol-related incident in his cell in December last year.
On November 6, Judge Michael Topolski QC said there was “no compelling reasons to interfere” with the parole board’s decision and Cunliffe will be allowed to leave prison.
At the hearing, Judge Topolski said it was believed that "some alcohol" had been consumed in his cell days before Christmas.
He added: "They were noisy and there was some violence, but it was not suggested that the respondent Cunliffe was involved in that violence."
Judge Topolski said Cunliffe had refused to take a breathalyser test and gave "different accounts of what happened" but had been moved from an open prison into "closed conditions" as punishment.
Mr Buckland had argued the December incident posed "insufficient evidence that there had been a sufficient reduction in the respondent's Cunliffe's risk to justify release".
Judge Topolski said the Parole Board had "applied the statutory test" and found it was "no longer necessary for the protection of the public" for Cunliffe to remain in prison.
He said: "It is important to stress that that was the opinion of all the professional witnesses from whom the OHP (Parole Board) heard except for the prison psychologist whose opinion was that there should be a further period of consolidation before the respondent's release."
In a statement, a Parole Board spokesman said: "The Parole Board has immense sympathy for the families of murder victims and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured.
"A senior judge of the board has rejected the application for reconsideration and found that the decision of the original panel was a rational one which was justified by the evidence they considered."
The reconsideration panel, introduced by the Parole Board in 2019, allows the Secretary of State and prisoners to ask for decisions to be reviewed if they feel they are unfair or irrational.
Cunliffe’s exact release date has not been discussed.
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