Killer jailed in 1975 ‘not suitable for release’
A killer who has been behind bars since 1975 has been told that he will not be released.
The Parole Board for England and Wales has ruled that Patrick Mackay 65, is “not suitable” to be freed but said he could remain living in an open prison.
Mackay was given a mandatory life sentence after being convicted of three manslaughters by diminished responsibility in November 1975.
The Old Bailey heard he had strangled two elderly women and killed a priest with an axe in London and Kent while two other murder charges against him were ordered to lie on file due to a lack of evidence.
Mackay, who was in his 20s at the time of his killing spree, first became eligible to be considered for release in March 1995 and regular Parole Board reviews of his case have meant he has so far spent an additional 26 years in prison for the protection of the public.
The Parole Board was looking to establish whether Mackay was safe to be let out after his move to an open prison.
This was Mackay’s second Parole Board review and it triggered a hearing that included a dossier of more than 1,700 pages, along with evidence from his community-based probation officer, the official supervising his case in prison, a prison psychologist, a medical professional and an independent psychologist commissioned by his legal representative.
After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Mackay was suitable for release
Mackay also gave evidence and a victim personal statement which “conveyed clearly the impact of Mr Mackay’s crimes and the long-term consequences of his offending” was also considered.
The Parole Board said: “At the time of his offending, these risk factors had included his early life experiences, not being able to control extreme emotions, not managing certain aspects of his personality, his willingness to resort to violence and to use weapons, his difficulties in forming relationships with others and his unhelpful ways of thinking.”
The Parole Board said there should be “a very cautious approach in respect of Mr Mackay’s rehabilitation”.
The first 27 years of his sentence were spent in Category A conditions due to concerns about his behaviour.
Better behaviour saw him moved to lower category prisons by December 2014 but Mackay had trouble adjusting to the less restrictive environment of an open prison and was returned to a closed facility in May 2015.
He was eventually moved to an open prison in November 2017, where he began working with professionals and was gradually allowed temporary release to spend time in the community.
These release spells were “limited” and then suspended when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
An independent psychologist commissioned by his legal team supported his release but other parole hearing witnesses said a further period of testing in the open prison was needed.
The Parole Board said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Mackay was suitable for release.
“However, on assessing the benefits and risks of Mr Mackay remaining in open conditions, the panel recommended that he should stay in the open estate.
“Mr Mackay will be eligible for another parole review in due course.”