Twisted murderer who mutilated schoolgirl, 15, could be moved to open prison
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A murderer who mutilated a schoolgirl could be moved to an open prison.
Edwin Hopkins, then aged 19, killed 15-year-old Naomi Smith after she left home in September 1995 to post a letter for her mum.
She was sexually assaulted and had her throat cut just 100 yards from her home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, Birmingham Live reports.
Her body was found by her dad Brian later that night in a nearby playground.
Hopkins was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court in 1997 for 18 years before he could be considered for parole – but that ended in 2013.
A parole board hearing has now recommended he should be moved from the 'category A' high risk prison he has been in since his sentencing.
The board said it will now go to the Ministry of Justice which will make a decision.
Since he was locked up, Hopkins has refused point blank to accept his guilt despite overwhelming DNA evidence.
Andy Freeman, one of Naomi's half brothers, previously said the brutality of the crime should be a key factor into never allowing him to walk the streets again.
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He said: “I never want him to be let out, I don't think anyone would be safe.
"He should never, ever get out for what he did, I want to make sure this doesn't happen.”
Speaking in 2019, Mr Freeman said he has attended parole board hearings, adding: "It makes me so angry, look at what he did to my sister."
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In a statement, a Parole Board spokesman said: "The Parole Board recommended that Edwin Hopkins is suitable for a move to an open conditions prison following an oral hearing.
"We will only make a recommendation for open conditions if a Parole Board panel is satisfied that the risk to the public has reduced sufficiently to be manageable in an open prison.
"Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community, or in open prison.
"The panel carefully examined a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understood the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.
"Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority. “
The statement continued: “This was a recommendation only and the Ministry of Justice considers the advice and makes the final decision.
“Prisoners moved to open conditions can be returned to closed conditions if there is concern about their behaviour."
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