The family of Lisa Skidmore who was brutally raped and murdered by a recently released dangerous sex offender have welcomed the report of an Independent Review by HMI Probation published today. The report highlights serious failings at every level of the Midlands area probation service which, had they been avoided, would have spared the life of a promising young nurse who cared for her elderly mother.
Lisa Skidmore was raped and murdered by Leroy Campbell who also attempted to murder her 80 year old mother, Margaret Skidmore when she chanced upon the murder scene in November 2016. Campbell, assessed as having ‘lifelong risk factors’, had been released by the parole board four months previously after serving a life sentence for previous serious sexual offending dating back to the 1980s. The conditions of his licence required supervision by probation and west midlands police. There were however appalling failures in his supervision including (but not limited to):
Failures to carry out the correct risk assessments prior to Campbell’s release from prison which meant that he was not supervised at the correct level on release.
A failure to have any co-ordinated approach after release between probation and the police, which led to deficiencies and failures in critical risk management decisions.
An utter failure to take immediate steps to recall Campbell to prison when he disclosed to probation and the police, 6 weeks prior to the offence, that he was having thoughts of raping women again.
A failure to take any sufficient steps to safeguard the public following Campbell’s critical disclosure. Had the correct steps been taken Lisa’s murder was entirely preventable.
The independent review of the case of Leroy Campbell was commissioned by the Justice Minister, Rory Stewart, following a meeting with family members who were unsatisfied with previous reports. The report finds that “the supervision of Leroy Campbell was inadequate in several crucial respects. As a result, Lisa Skidmore, other women and the wider public were put at risk unduly with grave consequences.” A copy of the report can be found on the HMI Probation website: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/about-our-work/inquiriesandreviews/
On Thursday 13 September the HM Coroner for the Black Country will hold a pre-inquest review where he will consider the family’s submissions that the inquest must explore all the relevant criminal justice agency failings which led to Lisa’s death. In addition to scrutinising the role of the probation service and West Midlands police, the family want to understand how Campbell came to be released by the Parole Board and why he was not subject to more stringent supervision following his release.
Margaret Skidmore, victim and mother to Lisa said "the light of my life was taken away and will never be replaced".
Mrs Alison Parker said "Probation and the police should be held accountable for their failure to prevent the horrendous murder of my sister Lisa Skidmore. As a retired clinical specialist I was held accountable for all my actions as my sister Lisa would have been if she was still alive today",
In a letter to the family, Executive Director Probation and Women, Sonia Crozier wrote, “After 30 years of working for the probation service where I have often felt proud of what the service has done, I now feel deeply ashamed of its failings in the management of Leroy Campbell. I can only reassure that you that your dignified determination made a deep impression on me and It will leave a lasting legacy on how the National Probation Service manages offenders, supervises its staff to account for their actions".
Mr Jim Skidmore, brother to Lisa, says: “The family welcomes the findings from the report and would like to thank the justice minister Rory Stewart and Sonia Crozier for their intervention after an initial meeting with them. When the family first raised their concerns we were told by the head of Birmingham probation that no one was accountable. So the question is, "what was investigated for the report by Dame Glenys Stacy that was different to the initial investigation carried out by the head of Birmingham Probation?".
Sarah Kellas, solicitor for family said “It is critical for the family, in their search for truth, justice and accountability, that they are provided the opportunity to see the material underlying the HMI Probation review so that their questions can be answered in full – it is their hope that the inquest proceedings will achieve this. Understanding what went wrong is not just critical for the family but a matter of wider public importance. Sadly, this is not the only case we are dealing with where there has been a failure to adequately supervise dangerous offenders leading to catastrophic outcomes. The family welcome the Victims Strategy unveiled by the Government on 10 September 2018 and hope that other families will not have to struggle in the same way they have to get their voices heard and the answers they deserve.”
Harriet Wistrich, Director for Centre for Women’s Justice and solicitor for the Worboys’ victims who successfully challenged the parole board, stated,
“The family need to understand the reasons why the parole board recommended Campbell’s release and why he was not supervised properly. We are seeing far too many cases now where probation are failing to adequately supervise dangerous offenders leading to entirely avoidable tragic outcomes. This terrible case exemplifies yet again how our criminal justice system fails to protect women and other vulnerable victims of sex offenders.”