May 2017: Sent back to prison. Facing parole panel end of 2018

April 2016: Has now been released to an unknown location in the South East of England

July 2004

Sentence cut for child killer is slammed

A MOTHER whose daughter was raped and murdered has criticised the Home Secretary who cut the killer’s recommended prison sentence.

Six-year-old Corby girl Collette Gallacher was murdered by Adam Stein in February, 1986.

Northampton Crown Court heard Stein lured Collette into his home in Ashley Avenue, Corby, as she walked to catch a bus to Our Lady’s Infants School on February 28, 1986.

More than 120 police officers were involved in the hunt for the girl.

Her body was found in Stein’s attic after he tried to kill himself and admitted in a suicide note that he had ‘done wrong’.

The judge at Stein’s trial said he should serve a minimum of 25 years, but following advice from the Lord Chief Justice, the then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd decided he should only be imprisoned for 18 to 20 years.

Now Lord Hurd has told the ET why he reduced the sentence by five years.

He said he made the decision because the Lord Chief Justice’s views “carried great weight because he saw all murder cases”.

But Collette’s mother, Karen Holmes, of Corby, is disgusted at the reduction.

She said: “The trial judge heard all the evidence and recommended a sentence based on that.

“This man should not even be looked at until 25 years are up. If people take a child in that way then life should mean life.”

Collette’s family always thought Stein would be behind bars until at least 2011.

But a parole board official visited them last month and told them Stein was applying for parole and could be released soon. It was only then that they discovered Lord Hurd’s decision.

Mrs Holmes said: “Nobody has been in contact with me since the trial. I was told they could not find me but I have lived here for 20 years.

“But when they came and said he was going up for parole I was disgusted.

“We are not mentally prepared for him to be released early.”

The family have put petitions in pubs and businesses around the town protesting at the possible early release and have collected thousands of signatures.