Killer Steven Ling who 'should never be released' recommended for open prison

19 February 2022, 08:59 | Updated: 19 February 2022, 09:19

Steven Ling stabbed Joanne Tulip 60 times in 1997
Steven Ling stabbed Joanne Tulip 60 times in 1997. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Sadistic killer Steven Ling has been recommended for open prison by the Parole Board, just days after a convicted sex offender escaped from the same type of jail and was on the run for four days.

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Ling stabbed 29-year-old Joanne Tulip 60 times on Christmas Day in 1997 before carving images including swastikas and crosses onto her body.

At the time a judge told Ling, now 47, he should "never be released so long as it is thought you constitute a danger to women" - but now he is being recommended for open prison to "test his readiness" for returning to the community.

Read more: 'Extremely dangerous' sex offender Paul Robson arrested after four-day manhunt

Read more: New photos released in the hunt for 'extremely dangerous' sex attacker Paul Robson

It comes just days after convicted sex offender Paul Robson - who entered a woman's home through a cat flap before attacking her - escaped from an open prison in Lincolnshire mere weeks after being moved from a more secure jail.

The "dangerous" criminal was on the loose for four days, with police warning he could "cause real harm to anyone he comes across" but presented "a particular danger to women and young children".

Just days ago, Mr Tulip's mother Doreen Soulsby called LBC and spoke of her fear that her daughter's killer would be moved to an open prison.

"What's the first thing he's gonna do when he gets into open prison?" She said.

"I'm terrified this time that he'll get into open prison."

Read more: 'Extremely dangerous' rapist who attacks women and children flees open prison

Read more: Mum shares agony with LBC as daughter's killer faces parole

Mrs Soulsby added that she didn't believe a parole hearing could reasonably find Mr Ling to be near reformed.

"I don't know how you can assess a guy who thinks like that," she said.

She has also pointed out Ling was 23 when he murdered Ms Tulip and has had "no chance to socialise or have relationships with women" since.

"I cannot believe he won't pose a risk," she told The Telegraph after hearing of the recommendation Ling be moved to an open prison.

She also told the paper she was appealing via her local Tory MP to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to block the move.

Ling was jailed for life in 1998, with a recommendation he serve at at least 18 years.

He has made repeated applications for parole since - much like Robson.

They have all been refused, but the Board this week backed his move to an open prison.

A Parole Board spokesman said: "This was a recommendation only and the Secretary of State for Justice considers the advice before making the final decision on whether a prisoner is suitable for open conditions.

"We will only make a recommendation for open conditions if a Parole Board panel is satisfied that the risk to the public has reduced sufficiently to be manageable

"A move to open conditions involves testing the prisoner’s readiness for any potential return into the community in future.

"Prisoners moved to open conditions can be returned to closed conditions if there is concern about their behaviour."