Deeply ashamed: Probation boss apologises for appalling mistakes over Lisa Skidmore murder
Serious failings and ‘appalling mistakes’ led to the murder of a Bilston woman by a convicted rapist, says a damning official report.
The findings are so serious, the head of the probation service says she is ‘deeply ashamed’.
Meanwhile, victim Lisa Skidmore’s heartbroken mother said: “The light of my life has been taken away.”
Miss Skidmore, 37, was brutally raped and murdered in her home in November 2016 by Leroy Campbell, who was supposed to be under supervision by the probation service and police.
However, there were ‘serious failings at every level’ according to an independent report ordered by the Justice Minister Rory Stewart.
Serial sex offender Campbell, 57, had been released by the parole board four months previously after serving a 16-year life sentence but the report found there were ‘appalling’ mistakes in his supervision.
In particular, the report criticised failures to carry out proper risk assessments which meant that he was not supervised at the correct level on his release from prison.
There was also a lack of co-ordination between probation and West Midlands Police which led to ‘poor critical risk management decisions’.
And there was an ‘utter failure’ to take immediate steps to recall Campbell to prison when he disclosed to probation and the police six weeks prior to Lisa’s murder that he was having thoughts of raping women again.
The report, by Dame Glenys Stacey for HM Inspectorate of Probation, concluded: “Had the correct steps been taken Lisa’s murder was entirely preventable.”
It says Campbell’s warning about re-offending ‘should have resulted in immediate, positive and firm action to protect the public’ by recalling him to prison.
The report adds: “Instead, he was left to commit these terrible crimes. It was an aberrant decision.”
Executive director of National Probation Service, Sonia Crozier, wrote to the Skidmore family saying: “After 30 years of working for the probation service where I have often felt proud of what the service has done, I now feel deeply ashamed of its failings in the management of Leroy Campbell.”
The report criticises the delay in disciplinary action taken against the probation officials responsible for Campbell and says steps were only taken after it published an interim report.
It pointed out that in other areas, mistakes as bad as these would see people ‘struck off’ in their profession and bemoans the fact that: “No such arrangements exist for probation professionals.”
Tomorrow, a pre-inquest review will be held by the Black Country coroner in Oldbury to consider the Skidmore family’s demands for answers.
They want the inquest to question the parole board’s decision in 2014 to move Campbell to an open prison and to release him in 2016.