Killer who bludgeoned woman to death with a hammer is back on the streets

A notorious murderer has been given day-release 24 years after he brutally murdered a young police worker.

Convicted killer, Craig Belcher, is moving closer to securing his freedom after he was caged for the brutal murder of Kirsty Carver in Hull.

The criminal has been spending time in the local community, Hull Live reports.

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After a hearing in February, it was ordered that Belcher would remain at an open prison but be given day-release. 

Belcher made a similar bid two years ago, but it was rejected. The Parole Board could not release him as they felt it was unsafe to let him rejoin the community.

Belcher was sentenced to 18 years in prison back in 1999. In an unprovoked attack, he assaulted the innocent woman with a hammer at a petrol station in Hull. 

Belcher has given no explanation for his actions in the intervening years, meaning he's still locked up despite being eligible for parole for six years.

Kirsty disappeared on March 5, 1998, after leaving a mate's house on Wold Road at 1:40am. Police later discovered her Toyota Celica unlocked near a quiet farm track.

Her parents, Vanessa and Arthur, desperately tried to appeal for information, with Vanessa writing an open letter in the Hull Daily Mail. Thousands of people joined the search hoping to secure Kirsty's safe return.

Alas, after a month of looking, Police dogs found Kirsty's half-buried body at Spurn Point. It was later revealed that Belcher lured his victim into a back room before committing the murder.

He denies the crime to this day.

At his latest hearing, the panel read a victim's personal statement, showing just how much the murder has impacted their lives.

The Parole Board Summary says: “Having considered the index offences and the other evidence before it, the panel listed as risk factors those influences which made it more likely that Mr Belcher would re-offend.

“At the time of his offending, these risk factors had included Mr Belcher’s way of life, his outlook and his associates. He had looked for excitement but could be easily led, and he had not maintained steady relationships.

“There had been concerns about his emotional well-being and lack of empathy for other people. A deeper understanding of Mr Belcher’s triggers and risk areas had been hampered by his accounts of the index offence changing over time.”

Belcher has allegedly behaved well in prison and taken part in rehabilitation programmes.

The summary said: “His behaviour in prison had been good, and he had engaged with the staff supervising him. He had undertaken an accredited programme to address decision-making and better ways of thinking and had completed a motivational training course.

“Mr Belcher had had the benefit of educational and vocational training and had engaged with specialist teams in the prison. The Secretary of State had accepted an earlier Parole Board recommendation that Mr Belcher should transfer to open conditions. He had done so in April 2021 and had recently successfully completed temporary releases from prison.

“In this case, protective factors which would reduce the risk of reoffending were considered to be the support he could expect from some family members and evident developments in his coping and self-control.”

Regardless, the board do not think he is ready for full release.

They confirmed: "The panel examined the release plan provided by Mr Belcher’s probation officer and weighed its proposals against assessed risks. The plan included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation with additional support as well as very strict limitations on Mr Belcher’s contacts, movements and activities. The panel concluded this plan was robust but not yet ready to manage Mr Belcher safely in the community.

"However, on considering the criteria for recommending placement in open conditions, the panel recommended that Mr Belcher should remain in this location. It is now for the Secretary of State to decide whether he accepts the Parole Board’s recommendation. Mr Belcher will be eligible for another parole review in due course."

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