A petition has been launched in a bid to have the killer of a South Tyneside mum transferred from a secure hospital to prison.
Nikki Keighley, was left incensed that Anthony Ross could be allowed unescorted leave into the community less than four years after brutally stabbing to death her cousin, Melissa Liddle.
Since launching the petition calling for Ross to now be handed a prison sentence for the 23-year-old’s killing - if medics deem him fit to be granted the unsupervised leave - 2,613 people have signed it.
Ross stabbed Melissa, the mother of his two children, 41 times. Her body was discovered by her brother Liam and step-dad David Keighley at the property the couple shared in Oak Avenue, South Shields, on March 15, 2015 - Mother’s Day.
Liam was unable to cope with what he saw that day and later took his own life.
Ross was sentenced to an indeterminate time at a secure unit in February 2016 after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Miss Keighley now hopes to gather enough signatures to highlight the issue.
She said: “When we found out there was a chance he would be granted unsupervised leave, we had to do something.
“I don’t know how long it will be until he is granted it, but we needed to do something to show how wrong this is.
“We shouldn’t have to see him on the streets so soon after he killed Melissa. Once he is deemed fit enough to be considered for unsupervised leave, he should be sent to prison to finish his sentence there.”
She added: “He has served no time at all for killing Melissa.
“I have shared the petition on Facebook. If everyone signs it and shares it with their friends, and they all sign and share it, hopefully we will have enough signatures to get this petition to the right people to sit up and take note.
“This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”
A friend of Melissa’s family said: “It’s just incomprehensible how someone can be too ill to be sent to prison, but within a few years deemed well enough to have unsupervised leave considered.
“It is making an absolute mockery of the criminal justice system. If he is well enough for unsupervised leave in the community, then he is well enough to go to prison.
“No sentence or length of time behind bars will ever make up for what he did to Melissa’s family and for leaving two boys without a mother.
“A jail sentence would go some way to helping them feel that justice has been served - no matter how small a comfort that would be.
“It would be better than what they are having to deal with now.
The petition can be signed HERE.