James Godden's parents Peter and Catherine want Tammie May Sherratt to stay behind bars.
James Godden's parents Peter and Catherine want Tammie May Sherratt to stay behind bars.

The parents of a 14-year-old Byford boy who was tortured and murdered in 1997 have called for one of their son's killers, who could be recommended for release today, to continue to be locked up for the sadistic crime that shocked the State.

Peter and Catherine Godden want Tammie May Sherratt, who was given a mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 12 years for murdering James Godden, to stay behind bars, saying they have no faith in the system to rehabilitate prisoners or monitor them after they are released.

The couple have dreaded the day when they would have to face the possibility that James' killers would be allowed to roam the streets again. That day could be today, when the Prisoners Review Board meets to consider Sherratt for parole. The review is required under legislation after Sherratt became eligible for parole last year.

James was riding his trail bike 1.5km from his home on September 7, 1997, when he encountered Sherratt and her lover Richard Leatch. Knocked off his bike and taken to their bush camp site, James was subjected to an hour-long torture, which ended when Leatch strangled him with a rope.

Sherratt, whose defence argued was under Leatch's control, guarded James with a samurai sword and an axe.

In sentencing remarks, it was stated the pair of social outcasts blew kisses and mouthed "I love you" to each other while Leatch told James "are you ready to die" as the attack neared its end.

Mr Godden said he recognised Sherratt was not the main culprit in his son's murder, but she still did not deserve to step outside prison walls.

He feared the intellectually disabled woman, who was 19 at the time, could fall into the clutches of another predator like Leatch. He doubted either killer was remorseful.

"I don't think she's a danger in her own right, but who knows who she has been mixing with," he said.

"These two are wicked, nasty, evil people . . . who murdered my boy in a calculated, prolonged and cold-blooded manner. She (Sherratt) was clever enough to lie about her involvement to try to get out of it. She wasn't an onlooker; she physically assisted (Leatch)."

Mr Godden said he had little faith Sherratt would be monitored if released, given Leatch had been released on home detention for rape offences three months before he murdered James.

"Not a day goes by when a memory isn't triggered (about James) . . . he was a 14-year-old and his whole life was gone in a horrendous manner by a couple of morons," he said.

Mrs Godden said time had not dulled the pain over her eldest son's murder, but she could not dwell on it 24 hours a day otherwise she would go "insane".

The Goddens, who have two younger sons Nicholas, 24, and Lewis, 20, still live in the same house in Byford, partly because they feel close to James there and they visit the scene of his murder on his birthday, the anniversary of his death and at Christmas.

"It's just what we do and how we deal with it," she said.

Sherratt was rejected for a resocialisation program in the last 18 months. Leatch was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years for wilful murder and will be eligible for parole in 2014.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has the final say on her release.

The West Australian

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