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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Petition to stop killer returning
Irene Voss
Irene Voss was bludgeoned to death with a hammer
Hundreds of people have signed a petition to stop a convicted killer returning to Leicestershire.

Michael Philpott wants to come back to the county after serving 12 years in prison for killing his partner, playschool teacher Irene Voss in 1989.

He was convicted of killing her at their Narborough home.

Under the terms of his release, he is not allowed to enter Leicestershire. He has now applied to have this restriction overturned.

Mrs Voss, 49, was battered to death with a hammer by Michael Philpott in 1989.

I just can't get my head around it
Marc Voss, son

Her body was discovered eight days after her disappearance in a lock-up garage in Leicester.

Mr Philpott - who has since changed his name to Michael Watson - has always denied killing her.

Mrs Voss' son Marc, 39, and daughter-in-law Tracey, 36, said they were told he wanted to return to Leicestershire by a probation team in Leicester who had been informed of this by a team in Cornwall, where Mr Philpott is currently living.

"It's been very stressful for the last two weeks since we first found out. I just can't get my head around it," said Marc Voss.

"For a bloke who's been convicted of murder and has never admitted to the crime, it's just devastating really."

Tracey Voss has now started a petition which will be presented to the Home Office.

"It's basically asking for the support of the community, asking them as well how their feelings are with regards to Michael Philpott returning to our village and our county," she said.

"I've now left these petitions in I would say between 45 and 50 stores in our local villages."

The couple have also contacted their MP Andrew Robathan who has pledged to write to the Home Office calling for Mr Philpott to be kept out of Leicestershire.

A spokesman for the Home Office has told the BBC he cannot comment on individual cases.

Interview with the family of Irene Voss

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