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Woman who encountered brother’s killer in community calls for changes to law

Tory MSP Jamie Greene is bringing forward a Victims’ Bill (Jane Barlow/PA)
Tory MSP Jamie Greene is bringing forward a Victims’ Bill (Jane Barlow/PA)

The sister of a man who was murdered in 2006 is calling for changes in the law to prevent the families of victims encountering murderers in the local community.

Leslie Jones’ brother, Tony Blair, was murdered in Airdrie after John McAvoy set fire to his home.

Ms Jones said McAvoy was released on licence for a work placement in a hotel before the end of his sentence.

Her family found this out before they were notified by the prison service, she said.

Leslie Jones met Jamie Greene at Holyrood (PA)

She is now backing Conservative MSP Jamie Greene’s Victims’ Bill and met with him at Holyrood.

The Bill would make a number of changes, including reforming the Victim Notification Scheme and providing victims with a say in parole hearings.

Ms Jones said: “My own personal experience has shown me that victims are currently an afterthought in the justice process.

“This is wrong and I have been let down time and again. Victims are constantly being left in the dark.

“Jamie Greene’s Victims Law truly has the potential to improve things for victims, giving them a voice at every stage in the justice process and empowering them to prevent perpetrators from tormenting their victims once they’ve been released.

“Victims must always come first, no ifs, no buts – and this Bill will help achieve that.”

Mr Greene said: “Leslie’s story is heart-breaking and her efforts to improve the justice process for other victims and their families are extremely admirable.

“It’s clear she has been let down by the process, not being informed of important changes to the case, or having enough of a say, if any, at key stages.

“All too often, the SNP’s soft-touch attitude has put the interests of criminals first, rather than the victims of crime. That has got to change.”