01/07/2013 15:38 BST | Updated 01/07/2013 17:04 BST

Inquiry Launched After Courtney Meppen-Walter, Former Manchester City Player, Released From Prison In Error

An inquiry is under way after it emerged a footballer who killed two people in a car crash was released from jail by mistake.

Ex-Manchester City youth player and England under-18 captain Courtney Meppen-Walter walked free from prison earlier on Monday, just a quarter of the way into a 16-month sentence.

courtney meppenwalter

Meppen-Walter was released on Monday

Greater Manchester Police has been informed by the Prison Service of the gaffe and efforts are being made to return the 18-year-old to custody.

Earlier, the widow of one of Meppen-Walter's victims said she was "devastated" to learn that the footballer was at liberty.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Police have been informed after a prisoner was released in error on Monday July 1 to ensure he is promptly returned to custody.

"Releases in error are very rare and we take any incident extremely seriously. An investigation will take place into the circumstances that led to this release."

Meppen-Walter wept in court when he was jailed at Manchester Crown Court on 28 February.

The sentencing judge said he would serve half his sentence in custody but might be released earlier on an electronic tag.

One of Meppen-Walter's friends tweeted on Monday he was "Fresh out of prizzy."

The tweeter also posted a poem Meppen-Walter wrote during his five months inside.

courtney meppen walter poem

Meppen-Wlater's poem he wrote inside jail

The footballer was at the wheel of his grandfather's "high-powered" Mercedes C220 saloon and doing nearly double the 30mph speed limit when he hit a Nissan Micra emerging from a side street.

The Nissan driver, Kulwant Singh, 32, from Salford, and his sister, front-seat passenger Ravel Kaur, 37, from Cheetham Hill, Manchester, were both killed.

Moments earlier, the defendant had been "jockeying" and "playing games" with a friend in a VW Golf along a nearby dual carriageway, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The crash victims came to the UK in 2001 to start a new life after fleeing persecution by the Taliban.

Ms Kaur's two sons, aged 16 and 17, both back-seat passengers, were injured in the crash, which happened at the junction of Great Ducie Street and Sherborne Street in central Manchester at about 10.15pm on 1 September last year. They are now orphans after their father was killed in Afghanistan.

The defendant had one previous conviction for speeding - again doing 56mph in a 30mph zone.

In a statement issued earlier on Monday through her solicitors Pannone, Mr Singh's widow Kushwant said: "The news of Meppen-Walter's release from prison has devastated me. His original sentence of 16 months for causing death by careless driving to both my husband and his sister was not sufficient in the first place.

"He has now been released after serving just four months, which is a quarter of his sentence.

"I feel that I have been badly let down by the criminal justice system."

Meppen-Walter, from Blackley, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to 16 months concurrently on two charges of causing death by careless driving, which he admitted.

He was also banned from driving for three years.

Speaking after it emerged that Meppen-Walter was released by mistake, Deirdre Healy of Pannone said: "It is astounding that mistakes like this happen. It almost compounds the error.

"It's put our client through even more distress and trauma - as if she wasn't distressed and traumatised enough - to realise mistakes like this will happen."