Human Rights Laws May Free Another Killer; Judge Rules That Murderer's Appeal Should Go to Parole Board
Grant, Graham, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: GRAHAM GRANT
A MURDERER who has spent 20 years in prison for raping and strangling a schoolgirl could be freed within weeks due to new European human rights laws.
Raymond Gilmour, 40, was jailed for life in 1982 for the murder of Pamela Hastie, 16, in woods near her home.
The original trial judge, Lord Dunpark, said he had 'no means of knowing when he may be released from prison without fear of him committing further sexual attacks'.
But at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, Lord Abernethy ruled that Gilmour deserved a minimum of 16 years.
Since he has already served 20 years, his case will now be referred to the Parole Board - which has already turned down six parole applications from Gilmour.
The ruling yesterday under European Convention on Human Rights legislation - described by critics as a killers' charter - means Gilmour is closer than ever to freedom.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, justice spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: 'I believe it is a much greater safeguard for the public if a minister has the last say on a lifer's sentence rather than appointed persons who are not accountable to parliament.' James Hastie, Pamela's father, declined to comment last night.
But last June, he told the Scottish Daily Mail that news of Gilmour's impending appeal had angered him.
He said then: 'Nothing has changed for me. I don't care what happens to him.' Gilmour pounced on Pamela as she walked through woods in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. He hit her over the head with a branch, pulled off some of her clothing and raped her.
He then wrapped string around her neck three times and strangled her. Her semi- naked body was discovered the following day. …