Labour calls for murder inquiry

Click to follow
THE Home Secretary is to be urged to order an inquiry into the case of a psychopath who killed a 21-year-old woman four months after he absconded while on home leave from prison. Tony Blair, Labour's Home Affairs spokesman, is to write to Michael Howard asking him to institute a 'proper independent inquiry' and take urgent steps to prevent such a tragedy recurring.

His actions follow an investigation by the Independent on Sunday which disclosed last week that the killer should never have been allowed home leave and that no police force was searching for him after he absconded in June 1991.

Keith Whitehouse raped and killed Suzanne Bromiley in a frenzied attack in a cemetery in Brighton in October 1991. In November 1992 he pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was jailed for life. Psychiatric reports described him as a 'very dangerous, sado-masochistic, sexual psychopath'.

Dawn Bromiley, Suzanne's mother, who lives in Morden, south London, plans to sue the Home Office for negligence.

Whitehouse was released on five days' home leave from Risley prison near Warrington, Cheshire, where he was serving a 30-month sentence for kidnapping a young woman at knifepoint and assault with intent to rob. A psychiatric report for the court described him as a persistent offender and 'an anti-social psychopath', which under the 1983 Mental Health Act is classed as a mental disorder. The rules for allowing home leave state that certain categories of prisoner, including those suffering from a mental disorder, are not eligible.

Mr Blair said: 'It is a matter of great concern. I will be asking the Home Secretary to institute a proper independent inquiry and urgent steps must be taken to ensure nothing like this happens again.'

Further inquiries by the Independent on Sunday have established that the search for Whitehouse was hampered because the wrong name had been entered on the Police National Computer.

When he was arrested and charged with the kidnap, Whitehouse used an alias, Nico Constantine. He was convicted at Stafford Crown Court in June 1990 and known at Risley as Nico Constantine alias Keith Nicholas Whitehouse. When Cheshire police were notified that he had absconded, the name Keith Nicholas Constantine - a mixture of his real name and his alias - was entered on the PNC. It is not clear whether the prison or the police first got the name wrong.

Whitehouse was eventually traced after Sussex police were told his real name by friends of Suzanne, with whom he had begun to mix. He disappeared after the killing but police tracked him to London within days using Department of Social Security records. Whitehouse confessed to the killing almost immediately.