Abuse victim Dana Fowley hails early release end

Dana Fowley says the current justice system is 'shocking' and 'ridiculous' when it comes to sex offenders. Picture: Jane Barlow
Dana Fowley says the current justice system is 'shocking' and 'ridiculous' when it comes to sex offenders. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE victim of Edinburgh’s worst paedophile ring today welcomed plans to end early release for the most serious violent and sexual offenders.

The pledge was included in the programme of legislation for the coming year unveiled at the Scottish Parliament by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Dana Fowley, 32, suffered at the hands of her grandfather, mother and up to 15 men who abused her and her sister over 12 years.

Her mum, Caroline Dunsmore, is serving 12 years for her role, while Morris Petch, 50, received a life sentence, and John O’Flaherty, 50, was handed a 13-year term after their 2007 trial.

Ms Fowley’s grandfather, William Dunsmore, was released from prison in 2009, after serving three-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence.

Ms Fowley said: “The justice system is very poor when it comes to sex attackers, but when an offender is sentenced they should serve the full term, not be let out after two-thirds.

“The current system is shocking and pretty ridiculous. No sex offender ever admits their guilt so why should they be entitled to automatic release? Just because you’ve served half or two-thirds of your sentence doesn’t mean you have been rehabilitated.”

Under the current system, offenders jailed for more than four years have their cases reviewed by the parole board for possible release when they have served between half and two-thirds of their sentence and are automatically released at the two-thirds stage.

Now sex offenders sentenced to more than four years and violent offenders sentenced to ten years or more will only qualify for a review after two-thirds of their sentence and the parole board will be able to recommend they serve the full term.

Ms Fowley added: “This is a step in the right direction and those who have shown no change or remorse can be kept in prison.”

But John Scott, chair of the Howard League for penal reform, warned ending early release would mean an increase in Scotland’s already high prison population.

He said: “Ending automatic early release is an easy promise to make and it’s unlikely to be unpopular, but it could have a serious effect on the number of people in prison.”

CURRENT INMATES NOT AFFECTED

THE changes will affect prisoners being sentenced only after the new legislation comes into force.

But the likes of Jay Soso and James Purves will still be eligible for early release.

Soso, left, admitted rape and culpable homicide after he attacked 63-year-old Marie Reid in her sheltered home in Easter Drylaw Way in November 2010.

Mrs Reid lay dead for up to four days before her body was discovered.

Purves, right, knifed dad-to-be Paul Scott in Tranent and was jailed for 15 years after being convicted of culpable homicide in October 2011.