UK

David McGreavy, Worcester Child Murderer, Loses Battle For Anonymity

22/05/2013 10:44 BST | Updated 22/05/2013 13:41 BST

Killer David McGreavy, who brutally murdered three small children left in his care, impaling their bodies on a fence outside their parents' home, has lost his battle for his identity to be kept secret.

The High Court has overturned an order granting anonymity to McGreavy, who killed Worcester children Paul Ralph, aged four-and-a-half, and his sisters, Dawn Maria, two, and Samantha Jane, nine months, in April 1973.

A lodger with the children's parents who had left him to babysit, he strangled the elder boy Paul, Dawn was found with her throat cut, and Samantha died from a skull fracture.

david mcgreavy

David McGreavy brutally murdered three small children left in his care

He then impaled their little bodies on the skied railings outside the house in Gillam Street.

He was found guilty and jailed for life that year, and there is no imminent prospect of him being released.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and media organisations launched an appeal this year asking judges to overturn an order granting anonymity to McGreavy.

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in London with Mr Justice Simon, ruled the anonymity order must be discharged.

The judge said that the course adopted by McGreavy's legal advisers when applying for anonymity was "wrong".

Lord Justice Pitchford said: "This has been frankly accepted by them."

Barrister Guy Vassell-Adams argued at London's High Court that the order - made in response to fears that the killer's own life was in danger - was legally flawed and wrongly prevented the public from knowing the full facts of the case.

"The full facts are exceptionally horrific by even the standard of murders," said Vassall-Adams.

Dorothy Fields-Urry, who is the former sister-in-law of Dorothy Clay, the mother of McGreavy's victims, said today that the killer should stay in jail.

"He is the scum of the earth for what he did and he should never be let out.

"It was unbelievable what he did to those children - I think it was the worst thing I have ever heard."

Fields-Urry, from near Andover, Hampshire, added: "I don't think he has shown any remorse for what he has done and he should stay in prison until he dies."

Vassall-Adams told the judges M's lawyers were arguing the case was about "whether the media should be allowed to imperil McGreavy's life or scupper his chances of rehabilitation".

The anonymity order was made during the course of a legal challenge by McGreavy against a Parole Board decision refusing him a transfer to open conditions.

His counsel Quincy Whitaker told the court that naming him would put him in danger from other prison inmates and he had already been the victim of a serious assault.

He had previously spent two years in an open prison until "hostile media coverage" led to him being returned to closed conditions "for his own safety".

Whitaker said the triple killings were "notorious", but there were "more than reasonable grounds" for believing that a fair parole hearing could mean him being returned to open conditions, which was a pre-requisite for release from custody.

The judge held out the possibility that in future McGreavy could be allowed a change of name to protect him.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "I welcome the court's decision. This is a clear victory for open justice.

"The public has every right to know when serious offenders are taking legal action on matters which relate to their imprisonment."