/Man who murdered woman in Bramhall could walk free next year, MPs told

Man who murdered woman in Bramhall could walk free next year, MPs told

A ‘merciless and manipulative’ killer given three life sentences after a brutal murder in Stockpot could be released next year, MPs have been told.

A judge recommended Nicholas Burton should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Burton was found guilty of the murder of 27-year-old judge’s daughter Rachel McGrath, who he stabbed to death as she called to collect her boyfriend from the car park of the Victoria Tavern pub in Bramhall, Stockport, in April, 1997.

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A few hours later, he kidnapped a 17-year-old girl in Manchester as she stopped at a newsagents on her way to work and subjected her to a terrifying 11-hour ordeal in which she was forced to drive to Wales.

He threatened to kill her, and later told a court he had intended to rape and murder her.

Ms McGrath worked as an assistant manager of a building society.

Now her elderly parents have been told he will ‘walk free next year’, by an MP speaking in the Commons during a crime debate today.

Rachel McGrath
(Image: Press Association)

Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in Wales, said: “My constituent Michael McGrath is battling for justice for his family.

“His sister Rachel McGrath was murdered in a brutal stranger attack by Nicholas Burton in 1997.

“The trial judge described Burton as merciless and manipulative and recommended that no home secretary – as the arrangement was at the time – would ever be likely to allow his release.

“Rachel’s elderly parents were recently told that Burton would walk free next year.

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“They haven’t even been able to make a victim statement and believe the correct procedure has not been followed.

“Will he agree, please, to a ministerial meeting with the family to help ensure that they have all the information they need, that their voice is heard and it is respected?”

It is understood Burton, who was from New Mills, could be eligible for a Parole Board hearing once his 25-year minimum tariff comes to an end next May, subject to him meeting certain criteria.

Such a hearing would be required to determine any release. It is understood Burton would be expected to be subject to strict licensing conditions should he ever be released.

Justice minister Alex Chalk thanked Ms Saville Roberts for raising the ‘extremely sensitive, distressing and, frankly, appalling’ case.

He added: “Yes, of course I will be delighted to meet.”

Mr Chalk said victims must be participants rather than spectators in such matters.

Speaking during the case in 1998, Mr Justice Morland told Liverpool Crown Court that a psychiatrist had described Burton as one of the most dangerous men she had ever come across in her career.

The judge told him: “I shall recommend that no home secretary is ever likely to allow your release.”

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