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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Silcott moved to open prison
Winston Silcott
Silcott has served 17 years of a life sentence
Winston Silcott who was wrongly convicted of the murder of Pc Keith Blakelock has been transferred to an open prison.

Silcott is serving a life sentence for the 1984 murder of boxer Anthony Smith.

Prison Service sources said on Friday he had been moved in readiness for his possible release.

Silcott was convicted of murdering Pc Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham, north London, in 1985, but was cleared by the Court of Appeal six years later.


He looks forward to progressing through open prison and returning to his family

Tony Murphy, Silcott's lawyer

He will have served 17 years this month, three years over the minimum tariff he was told he must serve before becoming eligible for parole.

Silcott's solicitor Tony Murphy said the Parole Board recommended in January that he be transferred to an open prison and Home Secretary David Blunkett accepted the recommendation.

'Coming home'

Silcott's brother George said: "We are pleased that the Parole Board and Home Secretary agree that Winston is not a risk to anyone.

"We look forward to having him home, although we are very concerned about how long it is taking.

"He has never caused any problems in prison and it's difficult to understand how it could have taken David Blunkett six months to approve the Parole Board's recommendation."

Mr Murphy said the move to an open prison was "the least Winston deserves".

"He has been described as a model prisoner since his last review in 1999 and should have been transferred to an open prison then.

Familiarisation visit

The Prison Service said it would not discuss individual cases.

A spokeswoman said: "Life sentence prisoners who are transferred to open conditions will have been assessed thoroughly by the independent Parole Board.

"The assessment must conclude that a prisoner is a sufficiently low risk to be transferred to open conditions.

"Most life sentence prisoners spend a period in open conditions so their readiness and suitability for release can be assessed."

Silcott was allowed out of Stocken jail in Leicestershire in November last year on a "familiarisation visit" to see how he coped with outside life.


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