'He should be in prison for life’: Prolific Northampton murderer who killed his wife, children and dogs in 2000 up for parole

After serving 20 years in prison for the triple-murder, Phillip Austin is up for parole this year

By Carly Odell
Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 9:34 am

A prolific Northampton triple-murder case is set to feature on a TV documentary as the killer nears the end of his 20-year prison sentence.

Phillip Austin murdered his wife, two children and two dogs on July 10, 2000 before fleeing the area.

Claire Austin who was 31 and her two children, Keiran, eight, and Jade, seven, were found dead in their family home in Standens Barn a week later by Claire’s mum and stepdad.

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Phillip Austin pleaded guilty to the murdering his wife and their two children in 2000.

The mum had been repeatedly stabbed and then strangled. The two young children were strangled and found in upstairs bedrooms.

Austin, who was a fork-lift driver at the time, pleaded guilty to the horrific murders and was sentenced to two decades in prison - a sentence which is now nearing an end.

The now 51-year-old is up for parole this year, which is something Claire’s mum, Carol Quinn, says ‘should not be happening’.

Looking back on the case and talking about the impending possibility of parole, Carol appears on a TV documentary, ‘Britain’s Most Evil Killers’, which will air on SkyCrime at 9pm tonight (November 10).

Featuring in the documentary is the latest on a long list of efforts Carol has made since the heinous crimes, including writing to MPs, attending marches and more, to campaign in favour of Austin spending the rest of his life in prison.

The dedicated mum and grandmother told Chronicle & Echo: “It should never be happening, he should not be considered for parole and that’s the reason I have done everything I have since it happened.

“I’ve tried my best but it is not going to be good enough as one day he will be out.

“He should be in prison for life. My daughter and grandchildren will never have a life, so why should he?

“Why he did it, I don’t think anyone will ever know. I don’t even know if he knows.”

Austin was originally sentenced to 17 years at Northampton Crown Court back in March 2001, when the judge described the family annihilation as 'beyond the bounds of belief'.

However the home secretary at the time - David Blunkett - stepped in and had the sentence increased to 20 years.

Looking back, Carol says there was no violence in the relationship between Austin and her daughter, prior to the brutal murders, but due to other issues, Carol had tried to convince Claire to divorce her husband and had even taken her to see a solicitor.

The 70-year-old recalls Austin being ‘bad with money’, blowing £100 on trainers and buying a complete golf set even though he did not play golf.

As soon as Claire would find out about the spending, according to Carol, Austin would ‘go away for days’ and assume his wife would ‘welcome him back with open arms’, which Carol says Claire often did.

It was only when the mother and grandmother had not heard from her daughter for a week, that concerns grew.

Carol added: “I hadn’t heard from Claire for a week. I phoned her but I kept getting the answering machine. She did care work, so I just thought she was at work a lot.

“I didn’t take too much notice of it, but her cousin told me she thought Austin was playing up again.

“I kept out of it and thought if she wants me, she knows where I am.

“Then I had a phone call from the secretary of the children’s school asking if I knew where they were.

“Alarm bells started ringing then. I called my husband, he came home from work and we drove straight round to her house.

“My husband went in first, he came back out and looked terrible and said ‘Carol don’t go in, Claire has done something to herself.’

“I said ‘no Claire hasn’t done it’, pushed past and went in. What I saw is something I will never forget.”

Although Austin’s case has been referred to the Parole Board, a hearing has not yet been held and he remains in prison.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm the parole review of Phillip Austin has been referred to the Parole Board and is following standard processes.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“The panel will carefully examine a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understand the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

Watch the documentary on SkyCrime, tonight; Sky channel 121, Virgin channel 135 and Now TV channel 362.

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