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Police warn public not to approach killer

Police are warning people not to approach a convicted killer who is on the run.

Paul Maxwell absconded in Rochdale while on day release from jail.

He was sentenced to life in 1996 for the murder of an 85 year old man.

"It has now been more than 24 hours since Maxwell has absconded and our inquiries to trace him are ongoing. We are pursuing a number of leads and we will continue to explore every possible avenue in finding him.

"Because Maxwell may have limited access to money, he may surface in the areas he is known to have links to so I would urge people to be on their guard and if you see this man, please do not approach him but call police immediately."

– Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick

Convicted killer still on the run after day release escape

A convicted killer is still on the run after absconding while on day release from jail. Paul Maxwell, 49, disappeared while visiting Rochdale town centre on Friday with prison staff.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996 for the murder and robbery of 85-year-old Joe Smales in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. This morning police said he has still not been located.

Paul Maxwell, 49, escaped yesterday while on day release in Rochdale town centre. Credit: Greater Manchester Police.

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Police warn public not to approach escaped killer

Police have urged the public not to approach a convicted killer who escaped while on day release.

Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick said although Greater Manchester Police has "no specific intelligence" to say Paul Maxwell is a threat to the public he could "become desperate" if he runs out of money

I would urge people to be on their guard and if you see this man, please do not approach him but call police immediately.

While we have no specific intelligence to say Maxwell is a threat to the public, he was convicted of the murder of a 85-year-old man and a robbery - so if he does run out of money and becomes desperate, he may seek to commit further criminal acts.

For that reason, it is important we warn people that Maxwell is still at large and ask that people are particularly vigilant at this time, particularly if you are or know an elderly person.

– Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick, Greater Manchester Police

Police hunt convicted killer after day release escape

Greater Manchester Police have appealed for the public's help after a convicted murderer escaped while on day release.

Paul Maxwell, 49, absconded yesterday while with prison staff in Rochdale town centre.

Paul Maxwell, 49, escaped yesterday while on day release in Rochdale town centre. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Police describe Maxwell as white, about 5ft 7in tall, of medium build with short brown hair and blue eyes.

  1. Penny Marshall

'Progress, but not enough' for vulnerable witnesses

We've learnt a great deal looking at the cases in Oxford and Rochdale and the way that vulnerable women endure giving evidence and Britain has introduced shorter time in the witness box and allowed evidence via videolink.

There is progress, but, campaigners are saying to me tonight, not enough.

Judges and prosecutors need to have special training in these cases and that does not yet extend to defence barristers.

All of this is being driven by a wider cultural change about the way witnesses are seen in cases like this.

Fahy: Court process 'more traumatic than offence'

Sir Peter Fahy has said that some people find the court process more traumatic than the original offence they claim to have suffered.

The Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable said:

"We may have to look at the whole system of justice and the way that we deal with victims who've been through such an awful process. Because clearly for some they are finding the court process almost more traumatic than the original offence that they were subject to."

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PCC: 'There must be more help for people like Tracy'

Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, says more help should have been offered to Tracy Shelvey.

Ms Shelvey died after falling from a car park roof in Rochdale.

He said:

"You've got to believe that the trauma of going through the trial process twice, of all she went through, whatever the validity of the verdict of the court, was an enormous ordeal and we've got to help people like Tracy better than we did do."

PCC calls for 'root and branch review' after death

A "root and branch review" of how victims and witnesses in trials are treated is "urgently needed" after the death of Tracy Shelvey, Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

The 41-year-old fell from the roof of a car park on Monday morning just a few days after a man was cleared of raping her.

Tony Lloyd said lessons had to be learned from the incident:

This can't go on - a root and branch review of how victims and witnesses are treated is urgently needed.

A chain of vulnerability exists from the moment someone reports an incident to police, and it can break at any point.

We need to ensure that victims and witnesses are surrounded by support from when they report to police, throughout the investigation, the court process and - critically - after trial is over, whether the accused is found guilty or innocent.

And we all need to work much better together to ensure that victims and witnesses get the support they need, when they need it.

Greater Manchester Police said the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and a full investigation will be launched to establish the circumstances surrounding Ms Shelvey's death.

Read: Family 'proud' of woman who died after rape trial

Family 'proud' of woman who died after rape trial

The family of a woman who died after falling from a car park roof in Rochdale have paid tribute to her saying they were "so proud" that she gave evidence in court.

Tracy Shelvey had "distressed" after a defendant in a rape trial in which she was the complainant was acquitted.

Tracy Shelvey fell to her death from the roof of a car park after a defendant in a rape trial in which she was the complainant was acquitted.

“Tracy was a kind and caring person and comes from a loving family who she kept in regular contact with," the family statement read.

“She had a warm heart and was a loyal friend and will be deeply missed by all.

“We are so proud of Tracy for standing up in court on the two trials.

“She was a strong person with a lot of pride. We also want to thank Tracy’s friends for their support at this time.”

Ministry of Justice: Measures in place to help witnesses

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson has offered the department's sympathies to the family of a woman who fell to her death from a car park roof just days after a man accused of raping her was acquitted following a trial.

She added: "We know that going to court can be intimidating and sometimes distressing and want to ensure the entire system is doing everything it can to support people through this process, and ensure justice is done."

She went on: "There are already numerous special measures available to help vulnerable witnesses give evidence - such as using screens or video link - but we know sometimes more could be done.

"That is why we are trialling an important new way of sparing vulnerable witnesses the trauma of appearing in court through pre-trial cross examination."We have also overhauled the Victims' Code so people know what to expect and who to demand help from every step of the way."

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