Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Naomi killer 'duped' authorities

Naomi Bryant
Image caption Naomi Bryant had been strangled with a pair of tights and stabbed 16 times

A forensic psychologist told an inquest a sex offender duped her into saying he should go to an open prison before he went on to murder a Hampshire woman.

Anthony Rice, 54, stabbed and strangled Naomi Bryant, 40, at her home in Winchester, Hampshire, in 2005.

He had previous convictions for child sex assaults and attacking women.

The jury at an inquest into her death at Winchester Crown Court is trying to establish whether failings of the state contributed to Ms Bryant's death.

Julia Long told the inquest she had not seen documents revealing that Rice had sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl and had had previous psychiatric treatment.

She said she felt Rice "made good progress" during a 12-month sex offenders' treatment programme.

When he came up for parole in 2001 she recommended he was transferred to an open prison and the Parole Board accepted her recommendation.

The coroner asked Ms Long whether, in hindsight, she felt she had been wrong in her assessment.

Image caption Rice is serving a life sentence

She told the court that she had asked herself that question many times since Ms Bryant's death but felt that Anthony Rice had "duped everyone" into believing he had made more progress than he actually had.

She said: "I clearly didn't know him enough."

Rice is serving a life sentence after admitting the murder of the mother-of-one.

At the time of the killing, he was under the supervision of multi-agency public protection arrangements, Mappa - a government framework designed to manage violent offenders in England and Wales.

Rice had a long history of rape and sexual assault, including a serious sexual assault against a five-year-old girl in 1975 and rape of a woman in 1982.

He was jailed in 1989 for attempted rape but released from prison in November 2004 and went to live at Elderfield probation hostel in Otterbourne, near Winchester.

Nine months later he killed multiple sclerosis sufferer and alcoholic Ms Bryant after meeting her in a pub.

He told police he decided to kill her because she stopped holding his hand as they walked to her house and this made him angry.

She had been strangled with a pair of tights and stabbed 16 times.

The inquest is expected to take up to six weeks.

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