Son’s killer freed from jail

Ben Prunty, who was murdered in South Shore in 2003.
Ben Prunty, who was murdered in South Shore in 2003.
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A MOTHER has spoken of her heartache at knowing her son’s killer is back walking the streets.

Terri Crossland’s son Ben Prunty was brutally murdered almost 10 years ago, when he was just 16-years-old.

And now she has been dealt the devastating news Ben’s killer, Nathan Butters, was freed from prison today.

Mrs Crossland, 47, from Bispham, said: “I knew it was coming, and I knew it was inevitable one day but when I first got the phone call from the probation service’s victim liaison team on Tuesday to say it was imminent I thought it might be a few months away.

“But then they rang again on Wednesday and said it would be Friday, and I had to prepare myself and my family.”

Mrs Crossland has two young daughters, the oldest of whom is hoping to embark on a law degree in September, and said they had been “really upset” by the news.

And she added although she is pleased the terms of Butters licence mean he will not be allowed to contact her family or return to the resort, she still feels he has been released too early.

She said: “He has served nine years, that’s it. And that’s the disappointing thing.

“Ben is just another name and another number, what sort of message is that sending out to people?

“His release has brought it all back, it’s not something you ever get over, it’s something you have to live with.

“But now it is a case of right, that’s it, and it puts some closure on it. I’m not going to bump into him in the street, he is a free man.

“I will still get letters from probation and I have asked them to tell me if he breaches his licence, and I hope if he does he is straight back inside.”

Ben was stabbed to death in his South Shore home in a grudge attack over a girl while his grandmother and two young children were in the house in June 2003.

Butters admitted Ben’s murder on the first day of his trial in 2004, and was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years.

But he had already spent 247 days on remand and in 2011 a judge at London’s High Court ruled Butters - who was 18 when he attacked Ben - had made “exceptional progress” and should have his minimum term cut by six months.