A man who was jailed in 2008 after murdering his wealthy mother-in-law has walked free from prison.
David Hill, who bludgeoned pensioner Molly Wright to death, has been released from jail on licence after his minimum prison sentence of 14 years came to an end, according to Parole Board documents.
The killer hit the 73-year-old grandmother numerous times with a heavy object – possibly an ornamental elephant from her mantelpiece – at her bungalow in Castleford, West Yorkshire, in September 2006.
He was convicted of murder in May 2008 following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
The court heard how Hill delivered up to 15 blows with the object then told police that he found her body when he went to check on her.
A decision summary from the Parole Board states that a direction for Hill’s release was made after a hearing on March 15 this year, Yorkshire Live reports.
The document states: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Hill was suitable for release.”
The former market trader, now 62 years old, must adhere to the “strict” licence conditions which require him to live at a “designated address”.
He must also continue to “be of good behaviour and to report as required for supervision or other appointments.”
During the trial, prosecutors said Hill, who had £20,000 loan and credit card debts, killed Mrs Wright in temper, possibly after she discovered he had been secretly taking money from their joint business account.
Sentencing judge, Mr Justice Simon described the killing as “pitiless” and said Hill would only be released if it was considered safe.
He said: “The killing of this elderly woman living alone and in these circumstances caused widespread shock. The fact it was you, her son-in-law, who killed her makes it very much worse for her and for your family. How you came to commit this crime is not easy to determine.”
The judge said there was clear evidence that Hill had been taking money from the businesses they ran in partnership at Castleford Market, adding: “It is very likely she discovered this and objected strongly to it.”
He told Hill: “I accept you are not normally a violent man and this was a crime which your family even now will find it hard to believe you committed. But there was strong evidence you lied about your movements that afternoon and that your lies were to conceal your part in her death.”
Hill ran a toy stall at Castleford market before going into partnership with Mrs Wright’s card stall following the death of her husband in early 2006.
A Parole Board panel described Hill‘s behaviour in custody as “exemplary” as they approved his release from prison.
Hill‘s case was referred to the Parole Board by the Secretary of State for Justice to determine whether he could be safely released on parole licence.
The panel could only direct release if it was satisfied that it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public that Hill remained confined in prison. The case was considered at a video-link hearing on March 15 this year.
The panel considered a dossier prepared by the Secretary of State. They also heard evidence from Hill’s probation officer, an official supervising his case in prison and a psychologist employed by the Prison Service.
Hill, who was legally represented at the hearing, gave evidence to the panel and indicated that he hoped to be released as a result of the Parole Board review. The panel considered “risk factors” linked to Hill‘s offending
The summary states: “At the time of his offending, these risk factors had included a build up of strong emotions over a period of time and a loss of control; not being able to solve problems or conflict well enough, feeling low and potentially not managing stress well enough. Also, relationship issues and finances may have played a part in the offence.”
Evidence was presented relating to Hill’s conduct while serving his sentence. The report continues: “He had undertaken programmes to address his decision making and better ways of thinking, relationships and dealing with conflict and emotions.
“He had also completed education and complied well with the prison regime to a high standard. The panel heard how well Mr Hill had demonstrated application of relevant skills and learning while in custody.
“Witnesses all agreed that there was no outstanding offence-focussed work for Mr Hill to do. All witnesses supported Mr Hill’s release into the community.”
The panel also examined a “release plan” provided by Hill’s probation officer.
The document states: “The panel concluded this plan was robust enough to manage Mr Hill in the community at this stage because there had been no repeat of any concerning behaviour throughout Mr Hill’s prison sentence.
“He had shown exemplary conduct in custody, had significant support in the community, good communication and strong motivation to succeed.”