The law has been changed after a Little Gaddesden pensioner was murdered by a prisoner on day release to try and prevent something like that from ever happening again.
Ian McLoughlin – free from prison for the first time in 21 years – travelled to the Nettleden Road home of convicted paedophile Francis Cory-Wright, then 87, to rob him.
But after neighbour Graham Buck intervened, McLoughlin – who had killed twice before – slit the 66-year-old’s throat.
The law has now been changed to stop prisoners from automatically qualifying for the right to day release from prison.
It is understood that hundreds of prisoners were wandering the streets freely under the system.
But now they will only be let out for a specific purpose, such as work experience, after they have earned the privilege through good behaviour.
When prisoners are let out, they will be tagged. After Graham Buck’s murder in July , it took police three days to find McLoughlin and send him back to HMP Spring Hill near Aylesbury.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, whose constituency covers Little Gaddesden, described the changes to the law as ‘sensible’.
He said: “I hope it will mean people like McLoughlin do not get set free on day release to commit crimes that are so abhorrent.
“I believe in natural justice and I think it is an old-fasioned thing, and that means people who have committed crimes or are a danger to society should not be allowed out on day release.”
Previously, the Court of Appeal ruled that whole-life sentences were not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights – as McLoughlin’s judge had originally said.
His sentence was increased from at least 40 years in prison to a whole-life sentence as a result. The increase was brought after Mr Penning wrote to the Attorney General to protest the original ruling.
Mr Penning said: “This just goes to show that things can be changed and people are listening. It just proves that if you campaign and campaign on the right issues, you can sometimes get the right outcomes.”