Anger at plans to transfer brutal murderer Phillip Austin from high-security jail

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A FAMILY is preparing to fight a ruling that could see the brutal killer of a Northampton mum and her two children moved out of a high-security jail.

Phillip Austin is serving three concurrent life sentences for murdering his wife, Claire, as well as the couple’s two children, Jade, aged seven, and Keiran, aged eight.

Claire was beaten, strangled and stabbed to death in the kitchen of her home, in Stockmead Road, Standens Barn, in July 2000. Her children, who would now have been 18 and 19 years old, were then drugged and strangled in their bedrooms by crazed killer Austin, in a murder that shocked Northampton. Austin also killed the family’s two pet dogs.

On Friday, only weeks after the 11th anniversary of the triple murder, Claire’s mother, Carol Quinn, received a “devastating” letter from the probation service informing her that Austin had now been recommended to be downgraded from a category A prison and moved into a category B prison.

The news came after staff at HMP Long Lartin, where the killer is currently believed to be caged, assessed Austin as being a safer prisoner than previously. He has now been placed on a waiting list to be transferred.

Speaking to the Chronicle & Echo, Mrs Quinn, aged 62, from Bugbrooke, said she had been “having nightmares every night” since hearing the news.

She said: “Every year I receive an updated letter from the probation liaison officer and it tells me what his situation is.

“Every year I am on edge thinking ‘when is it going to happen’ and this year is the year it has happened.”

Mrs Quinn remains angry Austin may only have to serve 20 years in prison for the shocking murders, meaning he could be out in only nine more years, if the parole board agrees.

She is preparing to write to the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, in a bid to keep the killer behind bars. She added: “To me it is a total farce. It has nothing to do with justice.

“I’m totally, totally devastated. I wondered how I would feel when it started happening and, for the first day, I had a white rage inside me. Now I don’t know how to feel.

“I shall fight and I have a lot of people who have said they will support me.”

A Prison Service spokesperson yesterday said: “A prisoner’s security categorisation is assessed on a number of factors including offence, sentence, security category and individual circumstances and is continually reviewed in the light of information available to the prison and from the police and other agencies.

“Prisoners may be allocated to any prison in England and Wales best suited to meet their security and rehabilitation needs.”

“When a prisoner is re-categorised, the Prison Service will allocate them to a suitable establishment as soon as there is space available.”