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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 10:58 GMT
Widow's shock at killer's 'jaunt'
Frances Lawrence
Frances Lawrence said she had been left traumatised by the news
The widow of a head teacher murdered outside his school gates said she was shocked to learn that his killer had been let out on day release.

Frances Lawrence said she was totally traumatised after learning about Learco Chindamo's "jaunt" from a newspaper.

Her husband Philip was stabbed to death as he tried to protect a pupil in Maida Vale, west London, in 1995.

The Prison Service confirmed Chindamo, now 25, was let out for the day, in preparation for his eventual release.

He was 16 when he killed Mr Lawrence outside the gates of St George's Roman Catholic School and was jailed for life in 1996.

The judge told him he would have to serve at least 12 years in prison.

Need for debate

But it emerged this week that Chindamo had been let out of prison on Saturday, to prepare for his release.

Mrs Lawrence told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I am a great believer in rehabilitation. That's what I want for Chindamo.

"But it seems very soon. But also the shock that he had gone unescorted with his brother along a motorway up to London - the expectation is that you don't go on a jaunt."

Learco Chindamo
Chindamo murdered Philip Lawrence outside his school gates

She said she might not have known of it at all, if the story had not broken in The Sun newspaper.

"That did seem extraordinary," she said.

Day releases are used to maintain and develop prisoners' contact with their families and friends, and prepare them for their eventual release.

The Prison Service said it was allowed following stringent risk assessment.

It comes as a report by Victim Support suggested families of murder and manslaughter victims needed more sensitive treatment by police, courts and support groups.

Mrs Lawrence said there was a need for real debate on the issue.

"You need to know that justice is working in the interests of the victim," she said.


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