Serial rapist recommended for open prison

Andrew Barlow with long hair and beard
Andrew Barlow attacked young women mainly in Manchester in the 1980s [Other]

Serial rapist Andrew Barlow could be moved to a lower security jail, after a recommendation by the Parole Board.

Barlow, previously called Andrew Longmire, from Bolton, was handed a 12th life sentence in 2010, having already been sentenced to 11 in 1988.

He attacked young women mainly in Manchester in the 1980s.

The Parole Board has made the recommendation to move 68-year-old Barlow to an open prison, a decision that comes after Barlow was sent back to jail last year for breaching his licence conditions, just months after being released.

'Very high' risk

The Parole Board had rejected an application from the then deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to cancel Barlow's scheduled release.

Since then, Barlow has faced a fresh parole review.

The Parole Board found the risk of Barlow carrying out another sex attack was "very high", according to papers released on Wednesday.

A summary of the panel's decision said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and on licence, and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.

"The panel was not persuaded that it could rely on Mr Barlow to be open and honest with those managing him on licence.

"However, on considering the criteria for recommending placement in open conditions, the panel recommended that Mr Barlow should be progressed in this way.

"It considered that he would present a low risk of absconding from an open prison and that a move to open conditions would allow him the chance to show that he can be trusted."

The Justice Secretary now has to decide whether to accept the Parole Board's recommendation.

Barlow was jailed for life in 1988 with a minimum term of 20 years for 11 rapes, three attempted rapes and a string of other crimes.

Years later he was also found guilty of two more attacks, having targeted women in their late teens and young mothers, mainly, in Manchester in the 1980s.

He broke into his victims' homes, using weapons to threaten them - and in one case to cause injury - before assaulting them, often while children were in the same house.

The 68-year-old will be eligible for another parole review in about a year's time.

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