Family of murdered former police officer call for Michelle's Law

The family of a former policeman who was bludgeoned to death in his home have spoken of their 'total shock' when they were informed of his killer's temporary release from prison.

The family of a murder victim said they were shocked to hear he had been released from prison
The family of a murder victim said they were shocked to hear he had been released from prison

The children of Michael Mosey gave their support to Michelle's Law to give victims' families more rights when it comes to the release of prisoners after their case was raised at First Minister's Questions.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson said their father's killer John Mackie had his 18 year sentence reduced to 13-years on appeal. This summer Mr Mosey's family had heard rumours that he was to be released early and contacted the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

The SPS wrote back claiming he was not being considered for such release. But six weeks later around the anniversary of their father's death the family received another letter from the SPS informing him that Mackie had been been approved for First Grant of Temporary Release.

Mr Mosey's daughter Rachel Carson said: “Life as we knew it changed forever when our dad was brutally murdered.

“John Mackie was a repeat offender who had 10 previous convictions for assault with weapons, before he escalated to the vicious, unprovoked murder of our beloved dad.

“After suffering a tremendous loss that devastated our family, we were then subjected to the additional trauma of being left to clean the gruesome crime scene ourselves, and there was also the added distress of having to testify in court.

“We were in total shock when we received the letter from the SPS asking for our representations for the parole board earlier than expected.

“The lack of humanity and empathy in the letter is truly heartless and this needs to change, especially when it arrived on the anniversary of our dad’s murder.”

She added: “We support Michelle’s Law, as victims should be at the heart of the criminal justice system.”

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At Holyrood, Ms Davidson said the family had been left “traumatised” by the experience and felt the system had let them down.

She added: “ I know that the First Minister will agree with me that a case like this is unacceptable. But doesn't that only demonstrate the need to act decisively now to show victims and their families that they are listening?”

The Tories have been pushing for “Michelle's Law”, a proposal put forward by the relatives of Michelle Stewart, who was just 17 when she was stabbed to death in Drongan, Ayrshire, by John Wilson.

Her family received an SPS letter indicating Wilson had been approved for first grant of temporary release - despite the judge who jailed him in 2009 making clear he should serve 12 years before he could apply for parole.

They said they had little input into the release process, and have been unable to restrict his relocation to exclude their local area.

The Michelle's Law campaign calls for an explicit requirement for the safety and welfare of victims and families to be taken into account when parole and early release are considered.

The campaign also wants increased use of powers to impose exclusion zones on offenders and improvements to the Victim Notification Scheme (VNS) so victims and families are given reasons for an offender's release and can make representations in person.

Ms Davidson said: “Families who feel they are being treated as an afterthought have come to the Scottish Parliament to state their case.

“They are not asking for the world. They feel that criminals have more rights than victims, and they want the law changed so that victims are put at the heart of the justice system, which is where they should be.

“The family of Michael Mosey has been left traumatised by the failures in this case, and feel the system has totally let them down.

“This demonstrates the need to act decisively now to show victims and their families they are not being forgotten.

“It’s time to introduce Michelle’s Law and do exactly that.”

Ms Sturgeon agreed the case involving the Mr Mosey's family was "unacceptable".

She added: "I know the Justice Secretary would be happy to meet with the family if they want to do so.

"We're actively considering the Stewart family's proposals, and indeed other calls for improvements, in detail.

"We're already in discussion with the parole board on further reforms and possible development of their rules of procedure, and of course that has to include whether any changes are necessary following the Warboys case in England."

She said the Government would consult on changes both by the end of this year and early next year.

"We do think we need to look at what more needs to be done to ensure that victims and families of victims are given proper notice and, where appropriate, are properly consulted when these decisions are taken," she said.

A spokeswoman for the SPS said: "“We do not comment of individual cases. Those on home leave are released on license conditions. A rigorous risk assessment is undertaken prior to any offender being granted home leave."