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Sunday, 19 March, 2000, 19:00 GMT
Families call for charity workers' release
Cambridge 2
John Brock's wife Louise holds up a family photo
The families of two charity workers jailed for allowing heroin to be supplied at a homeless hostel are to hand a petition for their release to the Home Office.

Ruth Wyner, 49, former head of the Winter Comfort charity in Cambridge, and centre manager John Brock, 49, were convicted last December and sentenced to five and four years respectively.

On Monday Dylan Brock, 11, and 16-year-old Rachel Wyner will deliver a petition of more than 20,000 signatures calling for their parents' release pending appeal.

straw
Jack Straw sent a personal letter to 11-year-old Dylan Brock
Ruth Wyner's husband, Gordon Bell said he hoped the petition would bring about a review of the case.

"This is the voice of the people and the government should listen," he said.

Dylan Brock said since his father had been in prison, he had written to Home Secretary Jack Straw to ask for his release.

He said he received a personal letter in response in which Mr Straw said he could not intervene in the matter.

The Brock family said Mr Straw's letter read: "Prison is hard for people, but it is made easier when those inside know that their family and children love and care about them as you do."

Appeal

At their trial at Kings Lynn Crown Court last year, the key issue was whether Wyner and Brock had a duty to inform on hostel residents they knew to be dealing in drugs.

Both argued that their duty to confidentiality to clients outweighed that.

But police said the Cambridge hostel had become a centre for drug dealing and that Wyner and Brock had knowingly turned a blind eye.

The pair were been given leave to appeal against their sentences but not against the convictions.

They are said to be planning an appeal.

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