Murdered Dewsbury schoolboy Steven Mullins’ family file complaint after release of killer Richard Mortimer

Michael and Margaret Mullins with their daughter, Louise Thewlis.  Picture: Scott Merrylees
Michael and Margaret Mullins with their daughter, Louise Thewlis. Picture: Scott Merrylees

The family of a murdered Dewsbury schoolboy have filed a formal complaint over the handling of his killer’s release from prison.

Steven Mullins, 12, was found dead a short distance from his home after being attacked on his walk back from school on November 23, 1982.

Steven Mullins, who was murdered in November 1982.

Steven Mullins, who was murdered in November 1982.

His loved ones were devastated to learn in July that killer Richard Mortimer was making a formal application to be released after 34 years in jail.

And their upset and anger was compounded last week when they discovered Mortimer had been let out without their knowledge, despite assurances from officials that they would be kept fully informed.

Louise Thewlis, Steven’s sister, said: “It’s like it has gone full circle. It’s never gone away, but it’s like reliving it.”

The 42-year-old, who still lives locally, said the Victim Contact Service staff were initially reluctant to give her any information about the scheduled released date when she called last week.

It’s never gone away, but it’s like reliving it.

Louise Thewlis, sister of Steven Mullins

However, a member of staff eventually confirmed to her that Mortimer had been freed five days earlier.

Father Michael Mullins, 72, said: “They’ve no right to keep information from us.”

Mortimer, then 38, was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 16 years when he was jailed in October 1983.

The judge said he believed Mortimer, who had a history of sex offences, presented a danger to young boys.

After receiving the original letter about Mortimer’s application to the Parole Board, Louise wrote a heartfelt statement about the impact of her brother’s death on her family.

She asked that, if released, the board should ban Mortimer from making any contact with the family or entering Kirklees, Wakefield or Leeds.

But in October, they learned he would be released at a future date and the exclusion zone in his licence conditions would not extend to Leeds.

The board said it would not be ‘proportionate to the risk posed by the offender’, despite the Mullins family having other relatives in Leeds and Louise’s son studying in the city.

Louise immediately filed a complaint, sent by recorded delivery – but during last week’s calls to the Victim Contact Service she was told it was not there.

Michael said: “He might be in Leeds. He could be anywhere but wherever he is, people need to know.”

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff has pledged to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in her efforts to help the Mullins family to get answers.

“Theirs is, without a doubt, one of the most harrowing and heartbreaking cases I have ever heard,” she said. “I spoke to the Secretary of State for Justice, David Lidington MP, last week and he has promised to look into their case, and I am also following this up with the relevant authorities.”

In a letter to the Victim Contact Service, she asked for a ‘thorough investigation’ into why the family were not notified of the release date.

The family’s complaint on the parole decision has now been resubmitted and they are awaiting a response.

The Parole Board does not comment on individual cases.