Child killer who snatched girl from her bed makes bid for early release

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Robert Astley was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years after admitting the murder of Denise Bradbury. The monster, then aged 23, abducted his victim from her home, sexually assaulted her and dumped her body in the back of a car on May 6, 1983.

Brazen Astley, now 62, had hoped he’d get an early release from jail, reports Birmingham Live.

A panel for Parole Board, though, decided they would make no direction for release on licence and no recommendation for transfer to open prison either.

The panel concluded: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Astley was suitable for release. Nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Astley should be transferred to open prison.

“Given that key areas remained likely to be addressed, the panel considered that Mr Astley was appropriately located in custody where outstanding levels of risk could be addressed. The benefits of a move to open conditions at this time were considered by the panel to be limited and to be outweighed by the remaining risks that Mr Astley represents.

“He will be eligible for another parole review in due course.”

When Denise’s family heard of the appeal, they were furious.

The girl’s dad Dennis said he believed “once a murderer, always a murderer”.

He continued: “I’m never going to get over it.

When Astley struck in Kingstanding, Birmingham, Dennis had left his children with a babysitter as he went to the pub.

Two days later, the girl’s battered body was found in the back of a car on wasteland in Sparkhill, Birmingham.

The killer confessed to murdering the toddler at Birmingham Crown Court and was locked up in October 1983.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum of 14 years, which was increased to 20 by the Home Secretary that same year. In the past he has refused to engage with parole services because he believes, “those who have committed murder cannot be healed”.

Astley was handed another two years in prison in 2016 after admitting attacking another inmate with scalding hot water. Astley, who claimed he was being bullied, boiled a kettle of water with cooking oil added to maximise the damage and threw it over Anthony Batchelor.

He admitted the assault at Hull Crown Court and Judge Mark Bury said he “would not be coming out of prison any time soon”.

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