June 2015

Dad’s anguish as son’s killer released

AFTER 22 years inside prison, child killer Henry Williamson is about to be set free, but the family whose lives he destroyed say he should “die in jail”.

HE looks like an ordinary worker going about his duties.

But the man with the high-visibilty jacket and bleached hair is child killer Henry Williamson as he prepares for freedom after 22 years behind bars.

The family of his nine-year-old victim Neil Wyse yesterday criticised the ­decision to give him an unsupervised job picking up rubbish.

The Scottish Prison Service sent the family a letter months ago saying ­Williamson was due to be freed. But they say they’re frustrated at the lack of input they’ve had in the process.

The blast comes days after new ­Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove vowed to overhaul the legal system in Britain amid claims it fails victims of crime.

Neil’s dad David said: “Williamson shouldn’t be let loose after what he did to my son.

“We received a phone call from someone saying he’d be getting ready for parole a couple of years ago and a letter. We’ve heard nothing since. Williamson should die in jail.”

The 41-year-old looked carefree and relaxed as he picked up litter outside Greenock prison on Thursday.

Williamson, who is 6ft 5in tall and appears to have dyed his hair blonde, is allowed out alone just yards from a ­housing estate.

The road by Greenock prison is also used by children on the way to school.

Williamson was 19 years old when he murdered Neil in 1992.

He pounced on the schoolboy while he walked his dog Laddie in Gore Glen park in Gorebridge, Midlothian, and strangled him with the pet’s lead. ­

Williamson then dumped Neil in a freezing pond before trying to cover up his guilt by claiming he’d found the ­youngster and tried to save him.

At first police said Neil’s death wasn’t suspicious and Williamson – known locally as Billy Liar because of his outrageous tales – gave TV interviews as he revelled in being hailed a hero.

Neil clung to life in hospital for three days before his parents Anne and David made the heart-breaking decision to switch off the life support machine.

Just one hour after cradling dying Neil in her arms, Anne went into labour and gave birth to the couple’s second son. They named him David Neil.

Williamson denied murder but he was given a life sentence after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1993.

Last night, Neil’s dad David, 53, who still lives in the area with his family, said: “Williamson doesn’t deserve a second chance. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I saw him in the street.

“The pain of losing Neil is still as intense as it was all those years ago. It doesn’t matter to me what ­so-called experts say about rehabilitation.

“He’d be a danger if he was released, I really believe that. The fact he’s spent so long behind bars tells you something. Not many people spend 22 years in prison for murder in this country.”

January 2005

Killer who drowned boy launches appeal

A NOTORIOUS child-killer who drowned a nine-year-old boy in a Midlothian pond is set to have his sentence reviewed by judges.

Henry Williamson was found guilty of the murder of Neil Wyse, from Gorebridge, by throttling the youngster with a dog lead and then putting him in a freezing pond.

The murderer received a life sentence in 1993 for the killing, but may now be considered for parole much earlier than expected.

Neil’s father, David, today said he was “very worried and extremely angry” about the move, and said he believed Williamson will “murder again” if he is released early.

The murderer, now aged 30, is just one of three convicted killers from Edinburgh who will have their sentences reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeal under new human rights rules.

A leading solicitor today warned that “dozens” of other murderers could also leave jail sooner than thought.

A law introduced under the European Convention of Human Rights in 2001 requires all prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment to be given a specific period which they must serve as punishment.

As a result, the Scottish Executive is forcing judges to review murder life sentences and has told them only to impose a punishment period.

Prior to the change, judges took into account retribution, deterrence and danger to the public when sentencing killers. But after an appeal case in October last year, judges must again consider these factors, which is likely to mean a shorter punishment period for well-behaved prisoners.

As well as Williamson, Edinburgh murderers John Ian King and William Stewart have also lodged appeals to have their cases reviewed in the hope of reducing their sentences.

A leading Glasgow solicitor today said “vans full of murderers” will be turning up at the appeals court in the Capital over the coming months. “The judges are going to be swamped with convicted killers looking to reduce their sentences,” he said. “The press are going to have a field day because there will be every type of murderer in Edinburgh wanting earlier release dates. “

My firm has almost 40 murderers wanting to use these human rights to cut their sentences. I’m sure Williamson and Stewart will get something – they’re bound to get a reduction in their sentence.”

Williamson, a Pentecostal minister’s son, was only 19 years old when he was given a life sentence for the horrifying murder of Neil Wyse.

The 6ft 5in teenager was convicted of murdering the nine-year-old, from Newbyres Crescent, Gorebridge, at the town’s Shank Pond on December 28, 1992. Neil died three days later at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

The six-day trial heard that Neil was last seen with Williamson while walking his dog Laddie in a public park near the pond. The murderer later appeared on television and lied about how he had tried to rescue Neil after finding him in the pond.

David Wyse, who still lives in Gorebridge with his wife Anne, today said: “We received a call from the procurator fiscal and we feared the worst – we thought our son’s killer was going to be released.

Fortunately, he’s only appealing to have his sentence reduced, but it still really upsets us. The man should be rotting in hell, not just prison, for what he did. “If they let him out early, he’ll just murder another innocent kid.”