Outrage over Beckton child killer’s freedom bid
A new torment for the family of brutally murdered schoolboy Daniel Handley has begun as it can be revealed this week that one of his killers has taken steps that could shorten his prison sentence.
Timothy Morss, now aged 48, and partner Brett Tyler, 46 were jailed at the Old Bailey in May 1996 for the abduction, sexual assault and murder of the nine-year-old in October 1994.
The paedophiles, who abducted Daniel as he fixed his bicycle chain outside his Beckton home in October 1994 were described as “vultures” by the judge who sentenced them to life. In 2002, then Home Secretary David Blunkett, ruled they must spend a minimum of 50 years behind bars.
But because the European Court of Human Rights intervened shortly afterwards to declare the Home Secretary’s role in sentencing unlawful, it is believed that neither killer has yet been formally told how many years they must serve before they can apply for parole.
Now Morss has lodged papers with the High Court so that a judge can decide what his minimum “tariff” should be after taking into account representations from Daniel’s family, professionals and from the killer himself.
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Although a decision is not expected until the new year, the case has brought fresh heartache for Daniel’s family.
His brother David, 24, has launched an online petition opposing the move which he fears will result in Morss’s early release.
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He said: “I am doing this for my brother so he can rest in peace, and so that other mothers and fathers out there don’t have to go through this.
“All I want is for them (Morss and Tyler) to remain in prison and leave me and my family alone. We have suffered ever since he was taken in 1994 and we still live the nightmare every day and its time to put a stop to all the pain and hurt.
“I feel like he is trying to get a shorter sentence so he can be released but I will not let this happen, ever.”
He said the manner of Daniel’s death had had a huge impact on the family and many others. It made him determined never to have children of his own for fear of what could happen to them.
BACKGROUND TO DANIEL’S MURDER
As the details of the horrific ordeal suffered by Daniel Handley came out in court in 1996, there was a palpable sense of shock and outrage in the area where the little boy was so well loved and known.
A peace lily was placed in the reception area of North Beckton Primary School where he had been a pupil.
Head teacher Stan Attridge said Daniel, killed aged nine, would be remembered as “a lively, energetic” child.
Robin Wales, then the leader of Newham Council, spoke of the “deep scar” that was left on the whole community by the killing.
He said: “As a parent whose two children went to the same school as Daniel, I was shocked and outraged by his death.
“It is hard to put into words the disgust I feel towards these men. They have sunk to the depths of depravity.”
Jurors hearing evidence at the Old Bailey wept at one point when they heard details of Daniel’s last hours.
They heard Brett Tyler’s account of how he and Timothy Morss abducted Daniel, sexually abused him and videotaped him before driving him to his death.
Tyler told police that on October 2, 1994 he and Morss drove from Camberwell to east London, ending up near Beckton Docklands Light Railway Station.
He said they saw a boy in a red tracksuit and twice asked him for directions before dragging him into the car on the second occasion.
Daniel was just yards from his home in Lobelia Close.
The pair then took him to a flat in Camberwell where he was subjected to sickening sexual assaults.
Then they bundled the boy into a car, drove towards Bristol and strangled him. He was buried in a shallow grave.
When he came to sentence the killers, trial judge Mr Justice Curtis said: “You two are evil vultures. Your homosexual lusts are directed against other people’s sons. No society can tolerate men who kidnap a child while playing on a street in broad daylight, nor such inhuman, callous conduct.
“In my book, for crimes as bad as these, life must mean life. I recommend you serve exactly that.”
Police praised the Recorder after the trial for being the only newspaper to carry stories on Daniel’s appearance constantly for almost a year.