Release for man who threatened `a Dunblane'

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The Independent Online
David Jennings, the inmate who allegedly threatened to "do a Dunblane" was released from prison yesterday morning.

With his face and body covered with a blanket, Mr Jennings was driven at high speed past reporters outside Swaleside prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, in a prison van escorted by a police car.

Yesterday, the borough council in Greenwich, south-east London - Mr Jennings' home area - obtained a high court injunction banning him from entering any council buildings or schools. The temporary injunction obtained on Thursday also bans him from owning or carrying firearms or interfering with any children, teachers or staff at Greenwich schools.

The council took the action after reports that Mr Jennings, aged 50, had threatened to carry out a Dunblane-style massacre on his release. He is believed to be angry at the way his children have been treated at school and in care.

The father-of-ten made the alleged remarks last month to a chaplain at Highpoint Prison, Suffolk, where he was serving a 30-month sentence for assault. He was subsequently transferred to Swaleside.

Mr Jennings' solicitor, James Bancroft, said yesterday that his client admitted saying something similar to the alleged comments but insisted it was not a serious threat. "It was just rubbish he spouted off the top of his head while unburdening himself to the prison chaplain because the social services had failed to bring his children to see him," he said.

Mr Bancroft said Mr Jennings would strongly contest the injunction at a court hearing on Monday when Greenwich will be seeking a permanent court order. He said the terms of the ban would make it very difficult for Mr Jennings to live an ordinary life in an area where he had lived for 25 years.

Neighbours living near the home of Mr Jennings' second wife, Samantha, said they were deeply concerned about his release after the alleged outburst. Carole Tobin, 30, a mother of three, said: "I'm worried about my children's safety now. I used to let them play outside but now this man has been set free I'm terrified to let them out."

Another neighbour Irene Cunningham, 57, said: "It's disgusting that he's been set free after saying the things he did. He shouldn't be allowed out."

After his release, Mr Jennings had been expected to return to his home in the Eltham area, but by nightfall there was still no sign of him.

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