Philip Lawrence's killer 'to be free in days'

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The Independent Online

Headteacher Philip Lawrence's killer is expected to be released within days after being granted parole, it was revealed today.

Learco Chindamo was convicted of the murder in October 1996 and jailed indefinitely, with a minimum of 12 years.

Today, 14 years on, sources revealed that a Parole Board had given the go-ahead for Chindamo's release.

He is expected to be freed within days, as soon as arrangements for where he will go are agreed.

Mr Lawrence was stabbed outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, west London, in December 1995 when he went to help a pupil who was being attacked by a gang.

Chindamo, a member of the gang, was just 15 when he carried out the murder.

A Parole Board spokesman said today that they could not comment on or confirm decisions or reasons in individual cases.

He said: "Once a life sentence prisoner's minimum tariff has been served, the court regards him or her as having served the necessary period of imprisonment to reflect the gravity of the offence and the need for punishment.

"The only legal question which has to be answered to determine the justification for detention thereafter is whether or not the prisoner is a risk to the public.

"The statutory test to be applied by the Parole Board is whether it is satisfied that the risk to life and limb to the public is no more than minimal.

"If it is so satisfied, it is required to release the prisoner."

He said the board would take a number of things into account, including the offence, the prisoner's offending history and progress in prison, statements on behalf of the victim, and reports from psychologists, probation officers and prison officers.

"There must also be a comprehensive resettlement plan in place," he added.