Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Early prison release for ex-policeman who stabbed wife

Maria Jones
Maria Jones was found with multiple stab wounds

A former police officer who stabbed his wife 96 times in a fatal attack has been released from prison three years before the end of his sentence.

Graham Jones killed Maria, 36, at the home they shared in Ingleby Barwick, Teesside, in 2004.

He was jailed for eight years in 2005 after admitting manslaughter but has been freed under automatic early release rules.

His victim's parents described the penal system as a "joke".

Taunted over affair

Maria's father, Ron Phillips, said: "The penal system that allows somebody to stab someone 96 times and walk away free after five years and one month, I think is a joke."

Her mother, June, said she thought his sentence was "disgusting" and added "If you went and robbed a bank you would get more".

Earlier reports suggested Jones would be released in April 2010.

Cleveland Police confirmed Jones had been released on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the force said he would be moved from the Teesside area and would continue to be monitored by the probation service and the police.

Ron and June Phillips
The couple say they have never recovered from their daughter's death

Jones, better known as Ivor, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The 20-year veteran with Cleveland Police said he "snapped" in December 2004 when she taunted him about an affair.

Teesside Crown Court heard he had taken the knife and repeatedly stabbed her in the head, chest and torso as she slept in the spare bedroom.

The court was told that the mother-of-three was so afraid of her husband that she kept a knife under her pillow and had told friends he had threatened to kill her.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the Criminal Justice Act 1991 provided for automatic release at the two-thirds point of the sentence for those serving four years or more.

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