Michelle’s Law: Father’s anger at ‘zero’ action

The father of a teenager who was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend says he feels let down by "zero" action on promised changes to the system.

Seventeen-year-old Michelle Stewart was murdered by John Wilson, then aged 20, in front of her friends near her Ayrshire home in 2008.

The killer was given a sentence of at least 12 years and Ms Stewart's family claim he is due for parole in November.

They have spent years campaigning to strengthen rights for victims of crime.

Her family wants a range of measures to be introduced, which they have called Michelle's Law.

They called for the welfare of victims and their families to be taken into account when parole and early release are considered, as well as the creation of "exclusion zones" where offenders cannot go during early release.

They also want improvements to the victim notification scheme so families are given reasons for an offender's release.

Michelle's family first met Scotland's Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf in August 2018.

Following their meeting, Mr Yousaf said much of what was being sought by the Stewart family could easily be introduced and he would seek to see how that was possible.

Michelle's loved ones – who had complained that the original sentence was too short – have described their anger at seeing pictures of a man they believe is Wilson on social media during recent periods of temporary release.

Kenny Stewart, Michelle's father, told the BBC: "We heard he was out via social media in Ayr. We weren't notified. I could have bumped into him.

"I don't want to be driving down the street and seeing him. It is like provocateur. They should not be putting me in that position."

Two years on from the initial meeting with the justice secretary, the family are due to conduct an online discussion with Mr Yousaf on Monday.

Mr Stewart said: "In the two years there have been no changes. There was a proposal for change for the Scottish parole board and how people, like me, could get more of a say. It was a great thing but it has disappeared. I don't know what has happened to it.

"I thought it was becoming law but it has disappeared. He [Mr Yousaf] did set up a taskforce but what has it actually done? Zero."

Ahead of the Monday meeting, Mr Stewart said: "I will say to Humza that he looked me in the eye and shook my hand and guaranteed changes but where are they?

"It can't be that hard because you can see how quickly they can change the laws for the Covid situation. They can swap laws upside down if they want."

The justice secretary told the BBCRead More – Source

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