Killer of Maida Vale teacher set for release

THE killer of Maida Vale school headteacher Phillip Lawrence is set to be released in a matter of weeks. Learco Chindamo, 29, who stabbed father-of-four Mr Lawrence to death outside St George s Roman Catholic school in 1995, has served 14 years

Ben Bloom

THE killer of Maida Vale school headteacher Phillip Lawrence is set to be released in a matter of weeks.

Learco Chindamo, 29, who stabbed father-of-four Mr Lawrence to death outside St George's Roman Catholic school in 1995, has served 14 years of a life sentence but has applied for a parole hearing.

Chindamo's lawyers are reported to be confident of persuading the parole board their client should be freed after prison reports found him a "reformed character" with a "low likelihood of re-offending".


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However, the news comes just three years after the murderer was described as a "genuine and present risk" to the public at an immigration tribunal hearing.

That hearing ruled that Italian-born Chindamo, who has lived in the UK since the age of six, should not be deported on release as it would breach his right to family life - a decision that was said to have left Mr Lawrence's widow Frances "demoralised and devastated".

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Chindamo became eligible for parole in January 2008 but his lawyers advised him to delay his appeal.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "The release of any life sentence prisoner would be a matter for the independent Parole Board.

"The board takes into account the protection of the public and may not release a lifer unless it is shown that the risk of serious offending is sufficiently low that it no longer requires the continued detention of the prisoner."

A parole panel of three will consider reports from the prison service, probation service and psychologists alongside the judge's sentencing remarks from the 1996 trail.

No date has been set for the hearing but if released, Chindamo will initially be housed in supervised accommodation.

Mr Lawrence, 48, was killed in December 1995 after trying to intervene when Chindamo's gang prepared for a fight with a pupil outside St George's school.

Chindamo, who was 15 at the time of the killing, was jailed indefinitely with a recommended minimum of 12 years.

Westminster City councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said: "People will be concerned that only a short time ago he was considered to still be a threat and I think the prison authorities will need to demonstrate that threat is no longer there.

"I am sure Mr Lawrence's wife and family will be dismayed at this news. The tragic death of Phillip Lawrence is something the family will never be able to recover from and the fact that his killer is now being released will be a matter of concern for the whole family.

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