Two Broome women left for dead after being savagely bashed are furious one of their attackers has been granted leave from prison to rebuild relationships with loved ones - 12 months before he was to be considered for parole.
Grandmother Noelene Lee, 55, has had to learn to walk and talk again after she was beaten about the head and body with a large metal torch at her work two years ago.
She was manager of the former Broome Home Hardware store - now Bunnings - when she quizzed Clint Shane Cotterill, David Andrew Hall and Gary Simpson for entering the delivery area at closing time.
She was then bashed over the head repeatedly.
Her injuries were so horrific neurosurgeons had to remove half her skull to ease pressure from her swollen brain.
The bone had to be replaced by a titanium plate.
Customer Lily Chin, 40, suffered three blows to the head by Cotterill, who continued to bash her after she fell to the floor.
The women are still struggling to come to terms with the attack, which has caused them and their families' deep psychological and emotional trauma.
The latest setback to their long and painful rehabilitation was a letter from the Victims Notification Registrar just before Christmas telling them Simpson's application for reintegration leave had been approved.
The Corrective Services Department confirmed this week his status has been downgraded for community re-integration.
He is now at low-security Karnet Prison Farm.
It is understood his privilege will start at 12 hours a month, then increase to include weekend and overnight stays with family until he is considered for parole on December 28.
Simpson has served just two years of his five-year sentence.
"I felt sick when I read the letter," Ms Lee said. "It was a real kick in the guts.
"Where is the punishment, where is the incentive not to commit crime, where is the reassurance to the victims?"
Mrs Lee has been unable to work since the attack and is still receiving medical treatment.
Both women are having psychological counselling.
"My life has been turned upside down," Ms Lee said. "Whenever I walk through a security scanner, the alarm sounds because of the metal they have used to rebuild my skull.
"It is deeply embarrassing and makes me feel like a criminal."
Ms Chin had three deep cuts that pierced the bone and had to be stapled together.
She said the wounds had healed but the scars of her ordeal would remain for ever.
"It was gut wrenching when we found out Cotterill had appealed his sentence - now we get a letter saying Simpson will be reintegrated back into the community," Ms Chin said. "I can't sleep at night without sleeping pills and I still suffer nightmares and other medical issues from the trauma of the attack.
"I am totally frustrated and angry with the justice system."
Ms Chin has had severe post-traumatic stress disorder since the assault and is still trying to overcome a chronic fatigue health condition she had before the attack.
Cotterill has appealed against the severity of his 8½-year sentence for his part in the robbery and a decision is pending.
He is eligible for parole in June 2016.
Hall was jailed for 5½ years.
Corrective Services said reintegration allowed low-security prisoners to re-establish family and community relationships through periods of leave.
'I can't sleep at night without sleeping pills and I still suffer nightmares.'" Bashing victim *Lily Chin *