Serious questions have been raised about how violent criminal Paul Steadman was allowed back into the community to attack a Preston grandmother.
The thug left pensioner Theresa Cain lying in a pool of blood, after failing to return to Kirkham Prison where he had been let out on day release.
Now Mrs Cain’s family are demanding answers, while her MP Ben Wallace says she was “failed by the system”.
Mrs Cain, 78, spent more than a month in hospital after being attacked by Steadman, meaning she was unable to say goodbye to her dying husband John, to whom she had been married for 55 years.
Steadman, 45, was jailed for the assault, which happened when he failed to return to Kirkham Prison, where he had been serving an indeterminate sentence in relation to another burglary at a pensioner’s home.
Mrs Cain’s son Peter, 42, said he was pleased Steadman was given a life sentence, but said: “He should have never been walking the streets.
“Someone in the prison service should be able to answer why he was let out.
“Paul Steadman has duped some fool in the prison and parole service and after serving his minimum sentence, was granted day release with devastating consequences.
“We now look forward to meeting the Governor of HMP Kirkham for the prison and parole service to answer for their failings.”
MP Ben Wallace said: “My constituent has been failed by the system.
“All we can do as a government and working in the justice system is try to put in place things so it never happens again.”
Steadman, of HMP Preston, previously pleaded guilty to burglary, aggravated burglary, grievous bodily harm, assault by beating, two counts of robbery and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place – all offences committed between May 3 and May 5, while absconding.
The court heard that since the age of 11, he had had 38 convictions for 96 offences.
Det Sgt Martin Pearson said: “Steadman is clearly a dangerous man who isn’t afraid to use violence in his offending. I welcome the sentence and the judge’s comments about his ingrained callousness and brutality.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said a review of release on temporary licence meant any prisoner who during their sentence has absconded, failed to return from a period of temporary release or committed a crime whilst on it, would not be able to return to an open prison or be granted temporary release again, unless in exceptional circumstances.
Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said: “We have made major changes to tighten the system and these have contributed to a 40 per cent fall in temporary release failures in the past 12 months.
“In future when prisoners are let out on temporary licence they will be tagged, more strictly risk assessed and tested in the community under strict conditions before being released.”