By Jon Slattery
The Burton Mail is fighting the early release of a murderer described by a judge as one of the most dangerous he had ever tried.
The Staffordshire evening has launched a campaign to keep murderer David Bond in prison for the minimum 40-year term recommended by trial judge Sir Richard Rougier in 1994.
Bond battered businesswoman Debbie Buxton with a hammer before stabbing her repeatedly as she walked her dogs at a riverside beauty spot near Burton in 1993. The judge described Bond as "perhaps the most dangerous man I have ever tried" and "possessed of an evil demon".
The Mail, in an exclusive, reported the Home Office as claiming the judge later changed his mind and recommended a 25-year minimum - so Bond could be free in his early 50s.
Sir Richard has denied this, saying the only mention of a 25-year minimum was a hypothetical one if the killer had no previous convictions, but Bond had a 12-year history of jail terms for violence against women.
The Mail has begun a petition calling on the Home Office to reinstate the 40-year minimum, and collected 3,000 signatures in the first 10 days.
lThe Mail is celebrating the success of its campaign for the resignation of former East Staffordshire Borough Council leader Dennis Heptonstall and his deputy, Penny Perry, from a new health committee. The councillors were appointed less than a year after suddenly leaving their council duties and families to go on a camper van tour of Europe. They now say they will not stand for re-election.
The readers' poll saw more than 4,000 respond, with 98 per cent backing the Mail's call for the pair to quit.