Probation failings 'probably contributed' to stab murder

Timothy Deakin Image copyright GMP
Image caption Murderer Timothy Deakin had been released from prison before the attack

Missed opportunities to recall a high-risk offender to jail "probably contributed" to the murder of a man during a street brawl, a coroner found.

Timothy Deakin was free on licence when he fatally stabbed Michael Hoolickin, 27, in Middleton, Greater Manchester, in October 2016.

Coroner Joanne Kearsley ruled Mr Hoolickin was unlawfully killed and Deakin bore "ultimate responsibility".

But probation failures also "probably contributed" to the death, she said.

The Ministry of Justice said it would consider the findings and apologised unreservedly to Mr Hoolickin's family.

Mr Hoolickin suffered multiple stab wounds after coming to the aid of a woman during a fracas.

Ms Kearsley, the senior coroner for North Manchester, said probation service chiefs in Rochdale "overlooked" serious concerns about Deakin's behaviour.

Image copyright Supplied
Image caption Michael Hoolickin suffered fatal stab wounds during an assault in Middleton in October 2016

She said "organisation failures", and failures in the way the killer was managed, "meant there was a missed opportunity" two months before the murder to recall him for breaching the terms of his release on licence.

Heywood Coroner's Court heard Deakin had been arrested twice for drug and driving offences, repeatedly failed to engage with his probation officers and was suspected of carrying a knife but was still allowed to stay a free man.

Deakin, 23, was found guilty of murdering Mr Hoolickin in April 2017 and jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years.

The inquest into Mr Hoolickin's death, which opened in January, had been adjourned to obtain further evidence on Deakin's supervision and liaison between police and the probation service.

The resumed hearing was told Deakin was "lawless and capable of feral behaviour" and several opportunities to recall him to prison were missed before the assault.

Outside court, Mr Hoolickin's father Garry said: "We don't want this to happen to any other families."

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