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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
Family worried over killer's release
Graham Allen
MP Graham Allen says a better mental health review is needed
A Nottinghamshire MP fears that a killer who could be freed from a psychiatric hospital is still a threat.

Gary Ayres, 43, stabbed his former girlfriend to death in a frenzied attack in 1999.

He has been declared fit to be released even though experts at the Home Office disagree, Nottingham North MP Graham Allen says.

Ayres used a bread knife to stab his victim, Vicki Older, the 31-year-old mother of his five-year-old daughter at her home in Nottingham.

Mental illness

She was stabbed and hit with a pick-axe handle, suffering 19 wounds to her head, neck and upper body.

Ayres was cleared of murder because the prosecution accepted that he was suffering from a mental illness.

The whole system really needs to be reviewed so that everyone can be reassured
MP Graham Allen

He eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A jury had failed to agree on whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter after a trial in Nottingham.

Ayers is still being held at a psychiatric hospital where he is regularly assessed by the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

The tribunal has decided he is fit for release, but Mr Allen is concerned about that decision.

"The whole system really needs to be reviewed so that everyone can be reassured that if someone is declared to be mentally fit that they will be back in the community and be of no threat to anyone, including the friends and family of the victim."

He said the victim's family have been told that a Home Office forensic psychiatrist thinks Eyres is still too dangerous to be released.

Vicki Older's mother is so frightened she has gone into hiding.

The review tribunal has told the BBC that patients who are released can be put under strict conditions, including controls under what medication they take and where they live.


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