Ringleader of gang who kicked dad-of-three to death could be moved to open prison

Adam Swellings was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years back in 2008

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The ringleader of a gang who kicked a father-of-three to death should be moved to an open prison, according to the Parole Board.

In 2008, Adam Swellings was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years after a court heard Garry Newlove was kicked “like a football” in August 2007 after he confronted Swellings and two others about vandalism outside his Warrington home.

Stephen Sorton, then 17, was jailed for at least 15 years and Jordan Cunliffe, then 16, was put behind bars for a minimum of 12 years. Both have since been released.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab must now decide whether to approve or block the decision to move Swellings to a lower security jail.

Father-of-three Garry Newlove was kicked to death outside his Cheshire home
Father-of-three Garry Newlove was kicked to death outside his Cheshire home
Dominic Raab must now decided whether to approve or reject the decision
Dominic Raab must now decided whether to approve or reject the decision

The Parole Board said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the other evidence presented at the hearing and in the dossier, the panel recommended that Mr Swellings should be transferred to open prison.

“This followed a careful assessment of the benefits and risks of progressing him in this way.

“It is now for the Secretary of State to decide whether he accepts the Parole Board’s recommendation.”

At the time of his crimes Swellings covered his “low self-esteem” with “arrogance in order to maintain status with anti-social friends”, a document detailing the Parole Board decision said.

The document added: “He drank and used cannabis and 'had difficulties dealing with extremes of emotion, including feelings of anger which were expressed in the form of extreme aggression'."

There have been “no concerns about his behaviour throughout his time in custody”, while he has “maintained a trusted position of work over many years” and his conduct has been “regarded as exemplary”.

He has taken part in rehabilitation programmes to address his behaviour and carried out training on “victim awareness”.

His probation officer “noted Swellings’ positive outlook, maintained over a long period” and a psychologist said open conditions were a “more realistic setting in which to test Swellings’ progress”.

Swellings, now 33, will not be eligible for release until August 2024 after the minimum term of his sentence elapses.

A spokeswoman for Mr Raab said he will consider the advice carefully when it is given to him.