Child killer’s appeal hope

Peter Chester - jailed for the rape and murder of Donna Gillbanks in 1977

Peter Chester - jailed for the rape and murder of Donna Gillbanks in 1977

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A BLACKPOOL child killer has won a fresh chance to apply for his release after serving more than 30 years behind bars.

Peter Chester was jailed for life after being convicted of raping and murdering his seven-year-old niece, Donna Marie Gillbanks.

The tragic girl’s mum, June, says she is “devastated” to hear a High Court judge has upheld Chester’s challenge for an oral hearing with the Parole Board where he will ask to be released or transferred to an open prison.

Mrs Gillbanks, from Marton, said: “He took my life, my world, away from me. It’s not right, it’s not fair.

“I should be at the hearing to say how it affected me at the time, since and how it still affects me now. I don’t want him to get out. I’m totally devastated that once again the victim’s family is again bottom of the pile. Where are my human rights? David Cameron said the victims’ would be at the forefront of the justice system but still our views and rights don’t count.”

Chester, 56, was jailed for life in March 1978 after killing Donna Marie in her own bedroom.

His applications for parole have been repeatedly turned down.

Chester applied for the Parole Board to conduct an oral hearing to properly assess the risk he poses, but his application was turned down last May.

Judge John Behrens yesterday told the High Court, Chester should have the hearing.

He said the Parole Board’s previous decision “ignored the long and detailed written statement of Mr Chester”.

He added: “The Parole Board dismissed his statement out of hand on the basis it was uncorroborated. However the professionals’ assessments were based on historic assessments, and the lack of evidence of reduction in risk.”