Family of victims launch petition against life sentence as brutal Northampton murderer Philip Austin up for parole

The killer was sentenced to three life sentences to run concurrently, so after 20 years in prison he is up for parole

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 6:00 am

A family has launched a petition against 'life' sentencing as a brutal Northampton murderer who killed his wife, their two children and their two dogs is up for parole.

Austin pleaded guilty to the horrific crimes and was handed three life sentences to run concurrently.

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The family of the victims want to force change on what a life sentence actually means.

Two decades have passed, and the now-51-year-old, is up for parole, although a date for his hearing has not yet been set.

The family of Austin’s victims have been left distraught by the thought that the evil man who killed their loved ones could be walking free soon, so have set up an online petition in the hope a life sentence can be changed to mean the criminal spends their entire life in prison.

Carol Quinn, mother to Claire and grandmother to Keiren and Jade, told Chronicle & Echo: “The sentencing makes me believe they think their lives were worthless.

“As the sentences run concurrently it makes it one life sentence so he hasn’t been given a life sentence at all, he has been given a tariff or 20 years.

Philip Austin killed his wife, two children and their two dogs in 2000.

“That works out as four years per life, including the dogs.”

The grandmother, who alongside her husband, found Claire, her children and their pet poodles, dead in their home 20 years ago, is seriously concerned about what would happen if Austin was released.

Carol added: “How it is at the moment is that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.

“I don’t know what I will do if he is released.

“I can’t comprehend how anyone could consider releasing him.”

To get the petition to be considered by Parliament, the family will need 100,000 signatures, which Carol knows is a big ask, but believes it is worth a try.

“We need a lot of people to get involved to make anything of the petition,” she continued.

“I would love it if it did go through and maybe we can make it.

“I have my fingers crossed and I really hope people will sign.

“It really could happen to them. Everyone thinks it will never happen to them and that’s what we thought, but it really could happen to anyone as it was so out of the blue.”

The Parole Board confirmed that Austin’s case has been referred to them, although a date for his hearing has not yet been set.

To support the family's petition, visit their site here.

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