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Grieving mother hits out at failings that led to son's murder

A grieving mother calling for a second inquest into her son’s death has hit out at failings she feels were responsible for his murder.

18 year-old Conner Marshall was killed in an attack two years ago.

Two years ago, 18 year-old Conner Marshall was killed in a savage attack by a known criminal who was on probation.

Tonight, Welsh-language current affairs programme Y Byd ar Bedwar follows Nadine’s fight for the rights of families battling for more information from the probation service and investigates concerns that cuts to staffing levels and increasing workloads mean offenders are not being banged to rights for breaking probation terms.

David Braddon was sentenced to life and must serve 20 years before he's considered for parole. Credit: South Wales Police

David Braddon from Caerphilly attacked Conner at a caravan park in Porthcawl.

The pair had never met, but after binging on valium and alcohol, Braddon battered the teenager from Barry, beating him with his fists and a metal bar, stamping on his head and stripping him, before leaving him for dead and fleeing to Scotland where he was tracked down by police.

Conner’s heartbroken Mum still recalls the moment she was told her son had been attacked.

Conner's mum Nadine has called for second inquest into her son's death.

On the Sunday, it was my birthday. Conner loved a Sunday dinner and we’d arranged to get all the family together for a meal to celebrate and catch up, before he went on to work.

I was expecting him back early. But there was a knock on the door earlier than I expected. It was 8 o’clock and I expected to see Conner, but it was the Police.

A bed came through from one part of the hospital to the other. I remember seeing Conner and not even recognising him.

He was just a mess. I remember praying, shouting at Conner, shaking him, pleading with him. I could deal with any situation as long as he woke up. As long as he was OK. But that moment never came.

– Nadine Marshall

David Braddon pleaded guilty to Conner’s murder and now faces a minimum of twenty years behind bars.

Two months after he was sentenced, Nadine Marshall discovered that her son’s murderer had been monitored by Working Links, a private company now running part of the probation service in Wales which deals with offenders labelled low or medium risk. Less than a year before killing Conner, he had received two community orders: one for production of cannabis, the other for assaulting a police officer and possessing cocaine.

Nadine Marshall was given a three-page summary report into the way Braddon was handled by Working Links. This report concluded “no one could have foreseen that David Braddon would go on to commit such an offence” but made recommendations to tighten up risk management and oversight by managers.

She was told the full Serious Further Offence report would not be released because of data protection. But after pressing for nine months, she was given the full document by Andrew Selous, then a Minister in the MOJ.

The report showed that Braddon had missed 8 appointments he should have attended as part of his community order. It also says Braddon was issued with several ‘Final Warning’ letters and threatened with being sent back to Court for breaching his order, but that never happened.

In a statement, a Working Links spokesperson said: “Serious further offences are rare but each one is taken extremely seriously and investigated fully."

All decisions were made and supervised by fully-qualified and experienced probation workers.

Public protection is our top priority and it is our job to help move people away from crime, and we strive continuously to improve the quality of the services that we provide. However, not all individuals desist from further offences. The person responsible for this crime is now convicted and serving his sentence. The management of the case has not been linked to the crime committed – the serious further offence report found that Conner’s death was not predictable or preventable.

After thoroughly reviewing the case, we have strengthened our partnership working between offender managers and intervention providers, ensuring enhanced joint working between agencies to support consistent risk management.

– Working Links spokesperson

But Nadine Marshall says she won’t rest until she sees changes to the system and gets an apology for her son’s death.

We’ve lost Conner in the most horrific circumstances and the nightmare isn’t ending. I know more families like us are suffering. It’s unfair and unacceptable. That’s why I’m carrying on to fight for answers and fight for fairness.

More support is given at the moment to offenders than is given to us, the innocent families.

– Nadine Marshall

Y Byd ar Bedwar will be broadcast tonight at 9.30pm on S4C. English subtitles are available.