Victim impact statements to Parole Board 'should matter'

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Media captionWendy Crompton, whose son was murdered, always believed her statement carried influence

A grieving mother has asked why bereaved families go through the trauma of giving victim impact statements at Parole Board hearings if they do not affect judgements.

Wendy Crompton's son William, 18, was killed in a frenzied attack in Llandrindod Wells in 1996.

She always believed her statement had an influence on the board's decision.

But a judge has been overheard in a different case saying such statements made "no difference".

Judge Graham White has apologised to parents Geraldine and Peter McGinty, whose son was murdered, and said he thought he was talking in "private".

He said the statements could not affect the judgement of an offender's risk.

'Quite shocking'

After hearing the judge's comments, Mrs Crompton told BBC Radio Wales said: "I did feel I had some influence, which was important to me as a mother.

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Image caption Fiona Ovis, 28, and William Crompton, 18, were stabbed 90 times at a bungalow on the Pentrofa estate

"On hearing this comment by the judge it is quite shocking and, if that is the case, why are they putting families through this? Why are they allowing us to do this?

"I know it's something that I particularly fought for all those years ago because I believed it would make a difference. I believed the impact of the crime would make a difference."

Mrs Crompton's son was killed alongside his girlfriend Fiona Ovis, 28, at a bungalow on the Pentrosfa estate 18 years ago.

The pair had been stabbed 90 times.

Mrs Crompton, originally from Newtown, Powys, was not able to give a victim impact statement at her son's killer's original trial but did give one at a Parole Board hearing in February this year.

'Voice for dead son'

"I went along to the parole board hearing and I read out my statement, and after I finished I finally felt that I'd been given a voice back for my son who lost his voice," she said.

She went on: "I'm quite shocked, to be honest, because it's not just about the offenders, it's about the families left behind to pick up the pieces."

Parole Board chairman Sir David Calvert-Smith said there were "real communication difficulties" in the area and all victims who made a statement should be given guidance as to what it may or may not achieve.

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