VIDEO: Victim’s family say double killer Ian Birley should never have been set free to murder again

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The devastated family of double killer Ian Birley’s latest victim have said he should never have been set free from jail to murder their father.

Birley will die in prison after being sentenced to a whole life term at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday for the killing of Wombwell property developer John Gogarty.

Ian Birley

Ian Birley

The 65-year-old grandfather was stabbed 69 times in his home in July after being targeted by Birley and his girlfriend Helen Nichols so they could rob him to pay back a debt to a Sheffield crack cocaine dealer.

Birley had been let out on licence just 18 months before he killed Mr Gogarty for the 1995 murder of pensioner Maurice Hoyle, who he also killed in his own home in a sustained attack.

Nichols was also sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder and she will have to serve a minimum jail term of 20 years before she can be considered for release.

Mr Gogarty’s eldest daughter Nicola told the court the family are angry that Birley was released from jail after his original murder.

DC David Sayles gives a statement after the sentencing of Ian Birley and Helen Nichols for the murder of John Gogarty, flanked by members of Mr Gogarty's family. Picture: Andrew Roe

DC David Sayles gives a statement after the sentencing of Ian Birley and Helen Nichols for the murder of John Gogarty, flanked by members of Mr Gogarty's family. Picture: Andrew Roe

She said: “I am heartbroken forever more to know, having heard in such detail, the violent death my father suffered at the hands of Ian Birley.

“Added to that pain is the knowledge that Ian Birley has already been convicted of the murder of an old man in his own home and should never have been back out on the streets free to do so again and free to destroy many more lives for a second time.”

Sentencing, Mr Justice King said: “This was a particularly brutal murder of a 65-year-old gentleman in his own home.”

He said it was a ‘sustained and frenzied attack’ by Birley.

John Gogarty

John Gogarty

“Prior to death, Mr Gogarty must have suffered mentally as well as physically to a significant degree,” he said.

After he was killed, Birley and Nichols stole £80 from his back pocket and a watch off his wrist, in addition to £500 Nichols had taken out of Mr Gogarty’s account from a nearby cash machine.

Justice King said: “As calmly as you approached the house, you both then left, leaving his bloodstained body slumped behind the sofa.

“No words of mine can express the depth and reality of the grief and loss you both have caused.”

Maurice Hoyle, killed by Ian Birley in 1995

Maurice Hoyle, killed by Ian Birley in 1995

The Ministry of Justice has said a review of the circumstances of Birley’s release is under way.

A spokesman said: “Our sympathies are with the victim’s family following this shocking crime.

“A review of this case is underway and we will carefully consider the findings and make sure lessons are learned.

“Serious further offences are rare but each one is taken extremely seriously and investigated fully.”