Hereford & Worcester

David McGreavy: Triple child killer cleared for release

David McGreavy leaving Liverpool after a visit to a hostel. Image copyright Mercury Press
Image caption David McGreavy was "compliant and co-operative with authority", a Parole Board report said

A babysitter who killed three children and impaled their bodies on garden railings has been cleared for release.

David McGreavy was sentenced to life in 1973 for killing Paul Ralph, four, and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha in their Worcester home.

Their mother Elsie Urry told The Sun she had "begged" that McGreavy, who is now in his late 60s, stay locked up.

A Parole Board report said he "changed considerably" over 45 years in jail.

The board confirmed a panel had directed his release following an oral hearing.

McGreavy, who was dubbed the "Monster of Worcester", was the family's lodger and claimed he killed the children because one of them would not stop crying.

He strangled Paul at the home in Gillam Street, Rainbow Hill, while Dawn was found with her throat cut. Samantha died from a compound fracture to the skull.

Image caption McGreavy killed Paul Ralph, four, and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha

Ms Urry, who has also been known as Dorothy, previously said he should never be released.

She told the BBC two years ago she regularly visited her children's graves in Worcester from her Hampshire home.

Ms Urry said McGreavy, who was 21 when he was jailed, had been her husband's friend and stayed with them because he had fallen out with his parents.

On the night of the killings he had babysat the children for up to an hour so she could work in a pub.

Ms Urry said she needed to earn money as they were trying to buy a home.

"I just feel that people blame me for what happened because I was working that evening," she added.

Image caption The children's mother, now called Elsie Urry, said McGreavy babysat for about an hour

Ms Urry told The Sun after news he had been cleared for release: "What this animal did to my children was every bit as bad as what the Moors Murderers did.

"He put my babies on spikes for God's sake - he mutilated them and they died in agony."

She was reassured after his trial "his crime was so terrible he would never walk free again" and now felt "betrayed".

Image copyright PA
Image caption David McGreavy killed the three children in their Worcester home in 1973

A board document referred to a victim personal statement from Ms Urry "setting out the devastating effect that these deaths had on her and still do have".

But it said McGreavy now had "a considerable understanding of the problems that he has had and what caused them".

It added: "The psychologist identified a number of factors which make it less likely that Mr McGreavy will reoffend in future.

"These included his improved self-control and the fact that Mr McGreavy has learnt to remain calm in stressful situations.

"A network of supportive friends in the community was also identified as a protective factor."

The possible release of McGreavy has been discussed by authorities for at least 10 years.

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Ian Kelcey, co-chair of the Law Society's criminal law committee, said he thought the parole board would have been "extremely cautious in current climate post the John Worboys case to ensure this man [McGreavy] is safe to release".

He said the decision would likely have been made by a High Court judge or retired High Court judge, and added: "My feeling is, I think we have to rely upon a trust on the parole board."

Rose Dixon, chief executive of the Support After Murder and Manslaughter charity, said the decision of the parole board would be taking the family back to "the day of the murder".

"It is a very traumatic experience to lose somebody through murder, and we have difficulty storing traumatic memories in the brain, so when an event like the parole board comes up or someone is coming up for release, it literally throws the family back."

David McGreavy timeline:

Image caption Gillam Street in Worcester as it looks today
  • April 1973: Lodger David McGreavy kills four-year-old Paul Ralph and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha at their home in Gillam Street, Worcester
  • June 1973: McGreavy is jailed for life
  • 1994: McGreavy is transferred to a Category D open prison then back to closed prison conditions (Category C)
  • 2007: One of a number of his bids for parole is refused
  • 2009: McGreavy is told he must remain in under closed prison conditions and an anonymity order is granted
  • May 2013: The anonymity order is lifted with a ninth parole review under way
  • June 2016: The Parole Board confirms McGreavy is being considered for release. Later that month it rejects his application
  • December 2018: McGreavy is cleared for release

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