Sadistic Corby killer to be released 35 years on from Collette Gallacher murder

Collette's family are distraught that he will not be on the sex offenders register

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 7:44 am

The family of Collette Gallacher, who was murdered by a monster as she walked innocently to school the bus stop 35 years ago this week, have launched a campaign to get her killer on the sex offenders register after it was revealed he is to be released from jail.

Paedophile Adam George Stein, who callously abducted, raped and murdered the six-year-old in February 1986, and left her family waiting for five long days and nights for news, will soon be released from prison.

But Collette's sisters, Claire and Lauren Holmes, were shattered to discover that Stein will not be on the sex offenders register (SOR), despite the brutal nature of the killing.

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Stein being taken into court by a prison officer. (Insert: An image obtained by the media of Stein after the killing)

With the blessing of their mum Karen Holmes, the two Corby women - with the full support of this newspaper - have pledged to get the beast on the register to give an extra level of protection against him ever re-offending.

Claire, 29, said: "We know that he can't be kept in jail forever. We have accepted that. But we couldn't believe it when we were told he will not be on the sex offenders register.

"He raped a six-year-old girl. He's always going to be a danger to children."

Lauren, 36, who was just 15-months old when her big sister was murdered, said: "We want to stop him and others like him by changing the law to make sure they are on the sexual offenders register.

A grinning Stein, before he killed Collette. This is the only picture the family have of the killer. Image: JPI Media.

"You can flash at someone in the street and be on the register - but you can rape and murder a child and not be on it. Being on the register just gives that extra level of protection for women and children."

The SOR was brought into law in 1997 and anyone who committed their crimes before then escapes being on the list. Stein is also not technically a sex offender because his horrific rape of Collette - acknowledged at his sentencing hearing and at the inquest into her death - was not prosecuted but left to lie on file to protect her family from having to hear the awful details in court.

Being on the SOR means that you must regularly attend a police station to sign the register. Anyone on it must also notify the police of all foreign travel, of where they are staying with a person under 18 for 12 hours or more and notify police of credit card and bank account details. Someone found guilty of a rape and murder would usually be subject to these requirements for the rest of their lives.

The Holmes sisters learned Stein was to be let out of prison when their mum was contacted by the parole board before Christmas. Despite their moving victim personal statements to the board, he was cleared for release.

Locals John Kane and Danny Dunnachie search for Collette in Thoroughsale Woods. Image: JPI Media

Remarkably, this is not the first time the killer has been out of prison. Stein was first released to the south east in March 2016 after being in and out of closed and open conditions for years. Within 16 months of release he committed a series of driving offences and concerns were raised over his drinking and 'relationship difficulties'.

As a consequence, in July 2017 he was recalled to custody where he has remained. He has been declined for parole twice since then - once in late 2017 and again in 2019.

In rejecting his application in 2019, the panel heard evidence from a prison psychologist who reported that during his brief release Stein had demonstrated a string of warning signs including engaging in risky behaviour, increased use of alcohol, 'inappropriate' sexual fantasies, using distorted thinking to minimise and justify inappropriate behaviours and secrecy and a lack of openness and honesty.

But then three weeks ago, Collette's distraught family learned Stein had been cleared for release after the latest review. The board judged that it was no longer necessary to keep Stein in prison for the protection of the public and said that he had taken part in 'accredited courses' to address his sex offending, to avoid illegal substances and improve his decision-making. Collette's family have not been told the names or content of these courses.

How we reported the sentencing of Adam Stein in October 1986. Image: JPI Media.

Although they have been told Stein will not be allowed within miles of Corby, the family have not been given an up-to-date photograph of him and have not been told the town where he will be living - leaving them concerned that they may cross paths without them even knowing.

Stein will have to live at a designated address and report regularly to his supervisor. He will have an electronic tag and will be subject to polygraph testing. He will have a curfew and an exclusion zone which includes Northamptonshire.

The family has challenged the outcome, saying that they believe the decision the board made in just 24 hours was irrational. Their challenge asks why a demonstrable thirty years of high-risk and inappropriate behaviour outweighs two years and eight months of 'behaving well.'

It goes on to say that Collette's family believes he still poses a 'huge risk' to women and children and that he should be at least returned to open conditions for a period before full release.

It continues: "Adam Stein has never shown a willingness to reform unless it is to get something he wants, ie release."

Their appeal will now be considered by the parole board ahead of Stein's potential release, which could happen within three months.

Stein killed Collette while 700 people from Corby searched for her. Image: JPI Media.

Claire, who has been forced to pause her studies while she deals with the impact of Stein's release, said: "He's going to have a second chance at life. My mum doesn't get a second chance. Collette doesn't get a second chance.

"It had been something that I had been able to push to the backs of my mind for so long - but now it's all so real."

A Government spokeswoman said: "This was a truly horrifying crime and our thoughts are with the family of Collette Gallacher.

“The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and those who pose a risk which includes Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, which can be imposed on individuals convicted of certain sexual or violent offences, including murder, and makes them subject to the notification requirements for registered sex offenders.

“Additionally we have Sexual Risk Orders which can be imposed 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 depending on the nature of the case, and breach is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment."

Under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, or Sarah's Law, the police can disclose details of Stein's previous offending to people who are involved with him even though he has not been technically convicted of a sex offence.

Under its Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, the Home Office has recently announced a review of Sarah's Law, to ensure it is being used consistently.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Adam Stein following an oral hearing. Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

"The panel carefully examined a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understood the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.

“The Parole Board will carefully examine and consider a wide variety of licence conditions as well as the wider release plan when considering whether an offender’s risk can be safely manged in the community. No prisoner will be released if it is deemed their risk management plan is not robust enough or licence conditions stringent enough to ensure they can be safely managed upon release.

“Victim engagement is a vital part of the parole process and we are committed to ensuring victims are kept fully informed about any updates and information regarding parole reviews. It is vital for the parole system that victims are kept notified of their rights to make victim personal statements and request licence conditions.

“The Board recognises the pain and anguish victims will go through when an offender is going through a parole review and even more so if that offender is released. As such, we absolutely welcome input from victims when deciding licence conditions and will consider and requests for additional conditions extremely carefully.”

Collette Gallacher was just six years old when she was killed. Image: JPI Media.
Adam Stein in handcuffs being taken into prison. Image: JPI Media.