Two former home secretaries back campaign for Collette Gallacher's killer to be placed on sex offenders register

The little girl from Corby was murdered in 1986 and her family are campaigning for her killer can be placed on the register

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 8:50 am

Two respected former senior politicians have called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to consider closing a loophole in the law so that a Corby murderer can be placed on the sex offenders register.

Adam Stein, who brutally raped and murdered six-year-old Collette Gallacher as she walked to school in February 1986, is expected to be released from prison soon after he persuaded a parole board that the risk he poses could be managed in the community.

On Monday (February 22), the Northants Telegraph officially backed a campaign by Collette's distraught family to ensure Stein was placed on the sex offenders register. Because he committed his crimes before 1997 he is not automatically placed on the register on release.

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Jacqui Smith and Lord David Blunkett are backing our campaign. Images: Getty / Northants Telegraph
Jacqui Smith and Lord David Blunkett are backing our campaign. Images: Getty / Northants Telegraph

Now, following widespread outrage among people from Corby and around the country, former home secretaries Lord David Blunkett and Jacqui Smith have called on current Home Secretary Priti Patel to close the loophole that allows people like Stein to avoid being on the register.

Speaking exclusively to the Northants Telegraph, Lord Blunkett said: "It is only right that a known criminal as dangerous as Adam Stein is on the sexual offenders register.

"I give the campaign my full support and would urge the Home Secretary and Attorney General to close this loophole."

And Jacqui Smith said: "What a dreadful tragedy for Collette's family and the community of Corby.

The house in Ashley Avenue, Corby, in which Adam Stein killed Collette Gallacher. Image: JPI Media.

"I hope ministers will look carefully at the loophole which allows Stein to avoid being on the sex offenders register. This is clearly wrong."

Jacqui Smith was the first female home secretary and held the office between 2007 and 2009. Lord Blunkett was Home Secretary between 2001 and 2004. He was awarded a peerage in 2015.

Their support is a major boost in the campaign by Lauren and Claire Holmes, Collette's sisters. They are campaigning with the blessing of their mum Karen and with the full support of this newspaper to ensure Stein has the highest level of supervision possible so that he is unable to re-offend.

When he was previously released in 2016, Stein re-offended within 14 months and was returned to jail. Collette's family have never been told the exact nature of his crimes but it was believed he committed a number of driving offences at the place he was living in the south east.

Adam Stein, pictured in 1986. Image: JPI Media.

At the end of January Collette's family were told that he was once again being paroled and although they have appealed the board's decision, he could be released within weeks.

Earlier this week local MP Tom Pursglove pledged to raise the matter at the highest level of Government and yesterday (Friday, February 26) he met with Lauren and Claire to talk about the progress he had made.

"He was incredibly positive and supportive," said Claire. "He told us he will leave no stone unturned."

"He said that he had spoken to the Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland and he has now asked us to lay out our thoughts in writing so that they can be properly considered."

The government is currently undertaking a major review of parole arrangements and it is hoped that Collette's family's views will be taken into consideration during that review.

Following nationwide publicity of their campaign, Collette's family was yesterday informed that once Stein is released he will be managed with the most scrutiny on offer to the authorities - MAPPA level three. When criminals who have served sentences for the most serious offences are released, they are subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). This is the process through which various agencies such as the police, the Prison Service and Probation work together to protect the public by managing the risks posed by violent and sexual offenders living in the community.

Stein was previously assessed as needing level two supervision. But following this week's public outcry over his released and the risk he poses, he has been placed on MAPPA category three which is reserved for offenders who pose a risk of 'serious harm' to the public. Level three management is often used where there is a high likelihood of media scrutiny or public interest in the management of the case and there is a need to ensure that public confidence in the criminal justice system is maintained.

It means that his case will be supervised by senior representatives of the agencies involved.

Claire said: "It's such good news. This means that the authorities will be able to monitor him more closely."

- Women who may have previously been victims of Stein are still able to come forward, no matter how long ago the crimes were committed. You can access help if you have been a victim of a sexual assault at Rape Crisis or you can report an assault to your local police force on their non-emergecy number, which in Northamptonshire is 101.