What about Donna’s human rights?

Tragic mother June Gillbanks, of Kinross Crescent in Marton, clutches a picture of her daughter Donna, who was murdered in 1977. Below: Peter Chester.
Tragic mother June Gillbanks, of Kinross Crescent in Marton, clutches a picture of her daughter Donna, who was murdered in 1977. Below: Peter Chester.
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A mother of a seven-year-old girl raped and strangled by her own uncle said she is “overjoyed” his battle for the right to be able to vote in prison was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

June Gillbanks said losing her only daughter Donna Marie in 1977 at the hands of her younger brother Peter Chester has left her locked in her own “life sentence”.

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

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

The 60-year-old of Kinross Crescent, Blackpool said Chester’s constant bids for parole and his right to vote proves he is still as “callous” as ever.

She said: “I am absolutely overjoyed the right decision was made.

“He is an evil and vile man, who not only raped and strangled Donna but then callously tucked her up with her stuffed bunny rabbit before pulling up the covers over her chin to try and disguise his heinous crime.

“In my eyes he is scum, over the years he has applied for parole eight times and every time he has been refused. But each time it brings back the whole nightmare of what happened.”

Now in his 50s, Chester is one of the UK’s longest serving prisoners having spent 35 years behind bars for killing the Waterloo Primary School pupil in her Mereside flat.

Detained at Wakefield prison in West Yorkshire, Chester has served the minimum term of his sentence an is eligible to apply for parole.

Mrs Gillbanks said: “Why should murderers get their human right to vote? He deprived Donna of her human rights when he did what he did to her.”

On the night of the murder Chester called randomly at his sister’s flat. Recently married, he talked his way past the babysitter who had been home looking after Donna.

After returning home from a night out, Mrs Gillbanks then just 24, found Chester in her home and feeling uneasy with his presence asked him to leave, before checking on Donna and heading to bed.

But the following morning after Donna failed to get up, Mrs Gillbanks made a horrific discovery.

She said: “I walked into Donna’s room calling her a sleepy head. I shook her but she didn’t move.

“As I pulled back the sheets I saw the strangle marks around her neck and the foam and blood in her mouth. We rung for the doctor who told me the terrible news. I just remember collapsing in a corner.

“I can still feel that pain. The way I describe is, it’s like a physical pain. It’s like someone has their hand inside your chest and they are squeezing your heart tightly.

“I think about Donna all the time. She was a happy little girl who loved school and playing with her friends.”

Chester’s fellow inmate George McGeoch, who is serving life for the 1998 murder of Eric Innes in Inverness also had his battle for the right to vote dismissed.

KILLER’S CHALLENGE

Seven Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed the appeal - a decision welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron tweeted after the announcement: “The Supreme Court judgment on prisoner voting is a great victory for common sense.”

Under section three of the Representation of the People Act 1983, convicted prisoners are prevented from voting in parliamentary and local government elections - and under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002 a person is only entitled to vote in European parliamentary elections if he is entitled to vote in parliamentary elections.

The challenge of Chester, who is also known as Peter Chester Speakman, at the Supreme Court followed a decision by three Court of Appeal judges in December 2010 when it was argued on his behalf that the serious nature of his offence did not justify disenfranchising him, and to do so was “disproportionate” and violated his human rights.

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