Everyone deserves a second chance. Some people would say murderers do not, but regardless of this, many are released, and most of those go on to disappear into obscurity. Ian McLoughlin was given a second chance, and a third.
In 1984, he battered a man to death with a hammer but escaped with a manslaughter conviction and a ten year sentence.
In 1992, he killed for a second time, and this time was convicted of murder. Yesterday, he was given another life sentence for murder after targeting an elderly man and then stabbing to death a neighbour
who came to his rescue.
This is a somewhat strange story. The man targeted by McLoughlin was octogenarian Francis Cory-Wright , whom he was said to have met in prison.
In November 2011, the Daily Mirror
reported that the old-Etonian was standing trial for an alleged historic sexual assault on a schoolboy who had waited thirty-five years to come forward with these allegations.
Cory-Wright pleaded not guilty, although it was revealed that he had been convicted of abusing a boy of 13 in 1987. Perhaps unsurprisingly in view of this, he was convicted again, and was given a gaol sentence, which is where he met McLoughlin. He received a 30 month sentence
but was clearly released early, possibly on account of his age. Then McLoughlin turned up at his house in the Hertfordshire village of Little Gaddesden and tried to obtain money from him, first by artifice and then by force. It was at this point that his victim, Graham Buck, appeared, and McLoughlin stabbed him to death in the ensuing struggle.
Incredibly, McLoughlin had not even been paroled; he was on day release from prison, and would probably have been paroled fairly shortly if he had shown he was ready to be integrated back into society. Now he is behind bars for the rest of his life. Although the trial judge gave him a 40 year tariff, that will in practice be a life sentence for the 55 year old triple killer.
McLoughlin is far from the only convicted killer to be given a second chance only to cause further misery. The case of the man who became known as the London Cannibal is a particularly horrific example. Peter Bryan murdered a young woman named Nisha Sheth
in 1993. Nine years later he was back on the street and provided with hostel accommodation, but shortly he was accused of indecently assaulting a teenage girl. Instead of being sent to gaol where he belonged, Bryan was sent back to a mental hospital, indeed not even a mental hospital but an ordinary hospital, on an open ward with no security. In February 2004, he murdered a man who had befriended him, and ate part of his brain. After being sent to Broadmoor
, he killed yet again. Because of his mental condition, Bryan has never been convicted of murder but only of manslaughter by the legal fiction of diminished liability. It seems unlikely though that he will ever be released. Hopefully.
Sadly, there have been many more such cases, in both the UK and elsewhere. This list of American cases
was compiled by the novelist Wesley Lowe.
One of the most bizarre killers on that list is child killer John Rodney McRae
. McRae deserves that title for two reasons: he was a child when first he killed, and he targeted young boys. At the age of 16, McRae was convicted of the murder of an 8 year old boy. At the time Joey Housey disappeared, McRae was just 15; the victim had his throat and
his genitals slashed with a razor. McCrae was paroled in February 1972 at the age of 37, and within 3 years he was married with a son of his own, which indicates his rehabilitation had been successful. Somewhat bizarrely he became a prison guard, but the decade was hardly over before McCrae became a suspect in not one but two murders: one of a young inmate, and the other of a 14 year old boy.
He would eventually become a suspect in two more. He was convicted of the murder of 15 year old Randy Laufer, whose body was not discovered for ten years, McCrae having buried it under a concrete slab. He was said to have boasted to other inmates that he had murdered up to thirty young boys, but it remains to be seen if that was anything but sickening bravado. John Rodney McCrae died in prison on June 28, 2005.
Not all killers who kill again are released; some kill behind bars. Two years ago, Jeffrey Motts was executed for the murder of another inmate
. He was already serving a life sentence after murdering two elderly people, one of them his own great aunt. Even most people who are opposed to the death penalty will probably agree that for some killers, it is the most appropriate sanction.