Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

'Media gag' for freed wife killer

A man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife has been cleared for release from prison amid reports of a gagging condition

A man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife has been cleared for release from prison after 18 years amid reports of a gagging condition.

Eddie Gilfoyle, 49, was freed from Sudbury open prison in Derbyshire on Wednesday on the condition he did not directly or indirectly contact the media, according to The Times.

Gilfoyle's wife Paula was found hanged in the garage of their home in Upton, Merseyside, in 1992.

A source said Gilfoyle had appeared before a parole board and had been cleared for release. A statement released on Gilfoyle's behalf through a campaign group protesting his innocence suggested his legal team would be appealing against the gagging condition, which reportedly includes his family, supporters and lawyers.

It said: "We are not able to provide a response because the Parole Board has imposed a condition on Eddie's life licence that prohibits him contacting the media either directly or indirectly whether this is regarding his release or his appeal."

A spokesman for the Parole Board said he could not comment on individual cases but said a condition banning prisoners from talking to the media would be imposed to prevent further offending.

He said: "Any prisoner who is released is released if we reach a judgment that he is safe to release and that he is not going to go on to commit another offence. It is sometimes the case that one of the licence conditions is that the prisoner being released doesn't get involved with the media. If that is the case, the only reason for that condition would be to prevent further offending.

"For instance, it might be the case that if a high-profile prisoner talks to the media after he has been released, there would be issues concerning the feelings of the victims. There might be concerns about the reaction of the general public to someone who has been released from a life sentence."

According to The Times, Conservative peer Lord Hunt of Wirral, who was Gilfoyle's former constituency MP, was also included in the media ban.

The newspaper claimed he wrote to the Parole Board asking that Gilfoyle and his team be allowed to speak freely. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said she could not comment on any individual cases.

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