Since news broke that serial child abuser Vanessa George was being released early from her sentence, Luke has been campaigning hard to keep her behind bars.
- He’s been listening to families and raising concerns in the media, in Parliament and directly with Ministers.
- He has raised it as a point of order with John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and followed that up with a debate that he led in Parliament. You can watch that debate here.
- He has met the Minister responsible for prisons and parole to discuss this case.
- He also questioned Boris Johnson on his first appearance in the House of Commons about the early release of Vanessa George, asking him to personally intervene.
- Two weeks ago, he travelled to London to appear on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show, as they had done a special investigation into Vanessa George’s early release. You can watch that here.
- He has also called on the Home Secretary to reopen the Police investigation into Vanessa George, to make sure every charge has been put against Vanessa George and there was no charges that lay on file. This final action represented the last roll of the dice to stop her release.
In his debate and in meetings with Ministers, Luke asked them to re-open the investigation into Vanessa George. He has just met with police officers from Devon and Cornwall Police who have reviewed their original investigation as Luke asked. He wanted to see if there is anything where she was the sole or primary suspect that she had not been charged for. Sadly, they confirmed that after a review of the files and conversations with the original investigatory team, there isn’t anything where she has not been charged. Luke has also received a letter from the Minister confirming that there are no charges that have not been put.
That was the last roll of the dice to stop Vanessa George’s early release. This means that she will be released at some point this month.
Luke raised the fact that so few families were told of the release with Ministers and Lucy Frazer QC MP, the new Prisons Minister, who has written to me in reply (shown below at the end of this article). She said that any party connected with the case who wants to be informed of her release can log their interest by emailing the National Probation Service on DDCVictimContact@justice.gov.uk – if you do, you should briefly explain your connection with the case. In theory, anyone who registers their interest should be informed when she is released which will be this month. The authorities have very few up to date contact details and so if you want to have updates you should register via this email.
Luke will be continuing the campaign to reform the justice system so that nothing like this ever happens again. He has a meeting with the Victims Commissioner this week, to talk about this case further.
Luke Pollard said:
“I have been trying to make the case that Vanessa George should be kept behind bars. I simply cannot believe that someone who has shown so little remorse is being released early.
The thought of Vanessa George walking the streets while the families of those she abused continue to endure such a life sentence is sickening. I will now focus on how we can fix this broken justice system. That means ensuring the voice of victims is heard louder and more clearly in the decisions of Parole Boards, and ensuring that the definition of remorse in the guidance for Parole Board’s to follow is made much tougher.
Vanessa George passed the painfully low bar while still refusing to name the babies and toddlers she abused – that is not acceptable. To that end, I am meeting the Victims Commissioner this week and will seek to arrange a time for family members to meet her. I have also requested a further meeting with the Minister responsible to press home the need for reform.”
The new Minister responsible for parole has written to Luke in response to concerns he has raised. Here is her full response: