A child murderer who was sentenced to life imprisonment, and was told he would never walk free again, has been cleared to walk free again.
David McGreavy, now 69, was babysitting three children for his landlady in 1973, when the children started to cry, and wouldn't stop.
McGreavy stopped them crying permanently.
He strangled Ralph Paul, aged 4. Ralph's sister, Dawn, 2, had her throat cut, and 9-month-old Samantha died from a compound fracture of the skull.
All three were then impaled on spiked garden railings.
I didn't write that for dramatic effect; I just wrote what happened.
McGreavy was caught, charged, convicted, and consigned to a cell for life, and, although 'life' doesn't usually mean 'life', the victims' mother was reassured that his crime was so terrible that he would "never walk free again".
During the last ten years, however, people who probably weren't born until after 1973, started to grumble about McGreavy's life sentence, and to talk about the possibility of him being released. This week, a Parole Board sat, and decided that he had served enough time in prison, and cleared the way for him to be released into the community.
Their report said that he had "changed considerably" over the 45 years he had been behind bars.
It's difficult to imagine, however, how a man that could have done what McGreavy did, could change enough - even during 45 years - to warrant release.
It also said "McGreavy now had "a considerable understanding of the problems that he has had and what caused them". Good for him.
It added: "The psychologist identified a number of factors which make it less likely that Mr McGreavy will reoffend in future." Less likely? Well, that's comforting to know. Slightly comforting, that is.
"These included his improved self-control and the fact that Mr McGreavy has learnt to remain calm in stressful situations." Calm enough not to slit a child's throat? And then impale, yes, IMPALE the child on garden railings?
I hope, for the Parole Board's sake, this assessment proves correct.
I realise that David McGreavy had some massive psychological problems way back in 1973, psychological problems that may now have miraculously cleared up, but how can anyone be so sure of that? I mean, prior to the murders, even the children's mother, in whose house he lived, hadn't detected murderous intent in his character. He seemed trustworthy, and even offered to look after the kids as 'a favour', so that she could go to work and earn some money to put food into their sweet little mouths, and buy them some nice clothes. So, 'signs' were not there, just as they aren't there now. Worrying, isn't it?
Rather than considering whether or not this man should be released though, it might be better to discuss whether or not he should have been jailed in the first place. Most people would recoil at the amount of money spent on keeping this man housed in jail for 45 years, and many would ask why it was necessary to preserve his life, rather than gently putting him to sleep.
Forty-five years of board-and-lodging, plus his use of water for showering, electricity for lighting his cell, and whatever proportion of prison officers' salaries can be attributed to the safekeeping of this loathsome specimen during that time, must add up to a small fortune, and one that would have been better spent by handing it over to anyone that wanted it, rather than spending one penny of it on McGreavy.
Had the authorities decided back in the 1970s, to deal with this kind of case properly, people like me wouldn't have been writing crap like this, and people like you wouldn't have been reading it.