The family of a young mum from South Tyneside, who was brutally killed by her jealous boyfriend, fear he could soon be granted unsupervised leave from a secure hospital.
Anthony Ross was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order in February 2016 after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Melissa Liddle on the grounds of diminished responsibilty.
He had stabbed the 23-year-old mother to his two children 41 times before leaving her body to be discovered by her stepfather and brother at her home in Oak Avenue, South Shields, on Mother’s Day – March 15, 2015.
Her brother Liam, 21, never got over what he saw and later took his own life, leaving a note saying he wanted to be with his sister and could no longer cope with what happened.
Now, Melissa’s family have been dealt another blow after it has emerged Ross could be granted unsupervised leave from hospital – less than four years since he robbed two children of their mother and less than two-and-a-half years after being sentenced.
The Ministry of Justice would not confirm or deny he will be allowed out, but in a statement said: “Restricted patients may be allowed temporarily into the community at the request of a doctor and only after an extremely tough risk assessment.”
Restricted patients may be allowed temporarily into the community at the request of a doctor and only after an extremely tough risk assessment.Ministry of Justice
Related: ‘Her death just killed him’ – brother of manslaughter victim Melissa Liddle found dead
It is understood those allowed temporarily into the community are subject to conditions which can include exclusion zones and restrictions against contact with the victim’s family and is based on advice of clinicians.
It is different from release on temporary licence from prison, which is considered for offenders towards the end of their sentence.
A friend of the Liddle family said: “They are absolutely devastated. It’s been less than four years since he killed Melissa and left two bairns without a mother. He doesn’t deserve to see the light of day again – never mind be given unsupervised leave from hospital.
“If he’s well enough for that then he’s well enough to be sent to prison, not to be let out on the streets unsupervised.”
The friend added: “There are just no words to comprehend how messed up this situation is.
“What about Melissa’s family, what about Melissa’s children? Where is the justice in all of this for them and Melissa. He has served no time at all.”
A source in close contact with Ross, who did not wish to be named, said: “He has told people he has got unsupervised leave from Roseberry Park, so he can go out by himself. I believe he could be out in 12 months.
“He has shown no sympathy for what he has done, no remorse.
“How can he kill the mother of his kids, show no remorse and be let out unsupervised.”