Former Charles Manson follower and double murderer is set for parole from US jail

A former follower of Charles Manson and double murderer has been recommended for release from jail after serving more then 40 years for her crimes.

Leslie Van Houten was the youngest member of the cult to participate in the killings of grocer Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary, who were stabbed to death in their Los Angeles home on 1969.

She has now been recommended for parole by a panel in California on her 20th attempt.

It heard that Van Houten, now aged 66, presents no danger to the public but has been long refused release because of her links to the notorious death cult.

Manson believed that a race war was looming Credit: Reuters

Former homecoming princess Van Houten fell into the clutches of Manson at age 19, where she became brainwashed by his murderous beliefs and joined his circle of mostly young female followers.

She took part in the stabbing of Mr La Bianca and his wife the day after other cult members killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

During the parole hearing, Van Houten described how she had held down Ms la Bianca and then stabbed her on the orders of Manson.

"I don't let myself off the hook. I don't find parts in any of this that makes me feel the slightest bit good about myself," she told the panel.

The board members were convinced to recommend her release after hearing she had been a model prisoner and had completed degrees in jail.

Her attorney Rich Pfeiffer said she was "numb" after hearing she could walk free.

She's been ready for this for a long time. It really should have happened a long time ago. >

Rich Pfeiffer, Van Houten's lawyer

The decision to release Van Houten must still be approved by state governor Jerry Brown, who has the power to block it.

Cult leader Charles Manson, 81, and other followers involved in the killings still remain in jail.