Inquest into mother's murder set to resume

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The Independent Online

The inquest into the death of a woman who was murdered by a sex attacker who was "too dangerous" to be released will resume today.

The hearing into the death of mother-of-one Naomi Bryant, 40, takes place almost five years since she was strangled and stabbed to death by Anthony Rice, 48, at her home.

He was on licence at a probation the Elderfield hostel in Otterbourne, Winchester, Hampshire, when he killed Ms Bryant after they met in the city.

Rice had been freed nine months before and a critical report by Chief Inspector of Probation Andrew Bridges in 2006 found that there were "substantial deficiencies" in supervision by probation and other officials in Hampshire.

He concluded that officials were side-tracked by considering Rice's human rights above their duty to the public.

Rice had previous convictions for indecent assault and rape and had been given a 10-year minimum term at the Old Bailey in 1989 for attempted rape.

Two parole requests were refused before he was released in November 2004, having served nearly 16 years.

The Parole Board concluded he presented only a "minimal risk".

The report said the 2001 decision by the board to move him to an open prison, created a "momentum towards release".

When the decision to free him was made the board "gave insufficient weight to the underlying nature of his risk of harm to others".

Rice was then put under the supervision of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements MAPPA - designed to manage violent offenders in England and Wales.

Four months before Ms Bryant's murder, he slipped out of his hostel at night and assaulted a woman with a brick in Southampton.

Rice was given a life sentence at Winchester Crown Court for the murder in October 2005 with a minimum term of 25 years imposed.

The jury inquest is due to last three weeks and will take place at Winchester Crown Court.