The Telegraph: Police killer Harry Roberts could be given a new name following prison release

Harry Roberts is thought to be staying in a bail hostel following his release from prison, but could be offered a place in sheltered accommodation in the coming weeks


Harry Roberts, the notorious police killer, is likely to be given a new name now he has been released from prison, a criminal justice expert has said.

The 78-year-old, who was jailed for life in 1966, was released from Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire on Monday night and is thought to be staying at a bail hostel while he adjusts to life on the outside.

It is then thought he may be provided with taxpayer funded sheltered accommodation where he could live with people of a similar age and his welfare could be monitored.

But because of his notoriety, probation experts have suggested that he is likely to be provided with a new name to aid his transition and help him avoid any unwanted publicity.

Harry Fletcher, a former assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, said given Roberts' age, it would be unlikely he would be provided with an entirely new identity – which can cost up to £250,000 – but he might be permitted to live under a different name.

Mr Fletcher said: "Given the potential risk from others towards him, it may be that he is allowed to live under a different name. Also considering his notoriety wherever he is living there is the potential for unwanted publicity, so allowing him to change his name would give him some protection. However it is unlikely he will be provided with an entirely new identity, which is very expensive and extremely unusual."

There are around 100 bail hostels in England and Wales, each with around 25 former prisoners.

The convicted murderer is expected to remain at one of the centres for several weeks before he is moved into suitable accommodation.

Roberts, who has served almost 48-years behind bars for the brutal murder of three unarmed Metropolitan Police officers, Detective Sergeant Christopher Head, 30, Detective Constable David Wombwell, 25, and Constable Geoffrey Fox, 41, was given his freedom following a decision by the independent parole board last month.

But his release has sparked widespread anger from the families of his victims, politicians and the wider police community.

Steve White the chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said they felt badly let down by the decision to release Roberts and called for a change in the law to ensure that those who murdered police officers were never released.

He said: "While Harry Roberts may have served 48 years in prison, we must not lose sight that he was involved in the brutal murder of three unarmed police officers; their families have been condemned to a life sentence without their loved ones.

"The public outcry also demonstrates the strength of feeling among the law-abiding British public who understand that police officers put themselves in dangerous positions to protect their communities, but rightly expect the backing of the law and criminal justice system in doing so."

He added that Roberts's release demonstrated the need for urgent legislative change to ensure those convicted of killing police officers remained in prison for the rest of their lives.

Following last month's announcement that Roberts was to be released, the family of Pc Fox said it was a disgrace.

The policeman’s youngest daughter, Mandy, said: "What signal does this show our courageous serving police officers throughout the country, who put their lives on the line daily for our protection and safety? It is an utter disgrace."

Roberts was convicted of one of the most notorious murders on the British mainland after he and two accomplices gunned down three unarmed offices in Shepherd's Bush, west London on a summer's day in 1966.

The judge in the original trial, Mr Justice Glyn-Jones, described the killings as “the most heinous crime to have been committed in this country for a generation or more”.

In an interview six years ago Roberts said he believed after 40-years in prison he had served his time, adding that he wanted to make something of the last few years of his life.

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