Collette Gallacher case raised in House of Lords as peer calls for Government to meet her Corby family

Collette was killed at the hands of Adam Stein - who was only placed on the sex offenders register after a campaign backed by this newspaper

By Kate Cronin
Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 10:14 am
Lord Porter has raised Collette's case in the Lords. Image: Getty / JPI Media
Lord Porter has raised Collette's case in the Lords. Image: Getty / JPI Media

A Conservative peer has asked the Government to meet with the family of murdered Collette Gallacher who are campaigning for those who committed their crimes before 1997 to be placed on the sex offenders' register.

Claire and Lauren Holmes launched their campaign with the backing of the Northants Telegraph and two former Home Secretaries after Adam Stein - who raped and murdered their sister Collette Gallacher in 1986 - was released for the second time earlier this year.

He was not automatically placed on the sex offenders register because his crimes were committed before 1997. Their hard-fought campaign persuaded the authorities to apply to the court for a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which places him on the register.

Claire and Lauren Holmes have been campaigning since Stein's release was mooted at the beginning of the year. Image: Alison Bagley.

But this did not happen the first time he was released in 2016 and he went on to reoffend within a few months.

The two women, who still live in Corby, say that people like him should be automatically subject to the conditions of the register on their release from jail.

Now their plight has been raised in the House of Lords by Lord Gary Porter of Spalding, who was asked to intervene by Corby Councillor Mark Pengelly who has known Lord Porter through his political work for some years.

His question said: "To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will meet with the family of Collette Gallacher to discuss changing the law to ensure that those convicted of committing violent sexual offences against children before 1997 can be included on the sex offenders register."

Their campaign was backed by the Northants Telegraph.

In a written reply Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State for the Home Department said: "The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and those who pose a risk.

"In addition to the notification requirements for registered sex offenders, where someone poses a risk of sexual harm, the courts can impose Sexual Harm Prevention Orders on individuals convicted of certain sexual or violent offences (including murder), and Sexual Risk Orders, on any individual who poses a risk of sexual harm, even if they have never been convicted. Both orders can place a range of restrictions on individuals, and breach is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

"We are strengthening these orders through the Policing and Crime Bill, including enabling the imposition of positive requirements.

"Although I am unable to comment on specific cases, I thank my Noble Friend for raising this case, and I will look into this matter to see what appropriate actions can be taken."

Colin Pitchfork will also avoid being automatically placed on the sex offenders register

Home Secretary Priti Patel has so far turned down requests for a meeting with Collette's family.

Claire and Lauren's campaign has been thrust back into the spotlight this week after it was revealed double killer Colin Pitchfork was to be released and would also avoid being on the register. Pitchfork raped and murdered Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. Like Adam Stein, he has changed his name and will be placed in a secret location in a different part of the country.

Corby campaigner Gail McDade, who was Collette's best friend, has set up a petition to try to close the legal loophole. The campaign featured in this week's Sunday Mirror after the paper revealed that Pitchfork would also escape being automatically placed on the sex offenders register because his crimes, like those of Adam Stein, were committed before the cut-off date.

Gail told the paper: “We knew that there would be other perpetrators of horrendous crimes, coming out of prison in the next few years and they would not be subject to the conditions of the register.

Adam Stein is now out of prison and living in a secret location

“I am devastated it has happened again so quickly.”

You can sign the petition here