Grimsby child killer Douglas Blastland dies from Covid while serving two life sentences

Douglas Blastland was born in Grimsby and worked as a butcher in the town Credit: MEN MEDIA

A man from Grimsby who strangled a 12-year-old boy to death with a football scarf after sexually assaulting him has died in prison of Coronavirus.

Douglas Blastland was serving two life sentences for the murder of Karl Fletcher after being jailed in 1983.

Tests on Karl's body revealed he had been brutally sexually assaulted before being strangled with his own Nottingham Forest football scarf.

Karl had disappeared after leaving his home in Gainsborough on 6 December, 1982. The next morning his body was found face down in a drainage ditch on wasteland off of Thorndike Way.

During court proceedings, Blastland, then aged 25, admitted meeting Karl not far from where he would later be found dead and alleged to have paid him for sexual acts. However, he denied killing the boy, but was jailed for a minimum of 22 years which was later increased to 25 years.

Blastland was born in Grimsby and lived for a time on the Nunsthorpe Estate as a child before working as a butcher in the town.

In 1977, aged 19, Blastland was jailed after four separate sexual attacks on young boys aged between 11 and 13, two in People's Park.

He appeared at Leicester Crown Court and was sentenced to five years in prison convicted of two acts of gross indecency and two of attempted gross indecency.

But he was freed in July 1980 and two years later went on to murder Karl Fletcher.

Whilst in jail serving a life sentence for for Karl's death, Blastland appealed against his conviction and then later was allowed to apply for parole in 2005.

The outside of Full Sutton Prison Credit: Paul Barker/PA

Speaking at the time, Karl's mother Audrey Fletcher said: "Of course, I always knew it would happen one day but I had presumed that we would be told about it and I could have been prepared for it.

"That should be 50 years and that is just what he deserved. He deserved to stay in prison that long for what he did. I don’t think he should have been given leave to apply for parole at all.

"The only thing I do feel is that I don’t want him to be free. At the moment all I’m trying to do is hang onto what the judge said about the fact that it was unlikely he would get out."

Blastland's applications were not successful and after a series of temporary transfers he was admitted to HMP Full Sutton, near York, for the final time on 5 October, 2005.

A newly published report from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has revealed that despite being considered high risk during the Covid-19 pandemic he chose not to shield and he tested positive in July 2021.

In August, he was taken to hospital and transferred to intensive care. He was placed on a ventilator and put into a medically injured coma. On the morning of 7 August hospital staff began end of life care and withdrew medication and ventilation. His death was confirmed at 12.09pm.

No post-mortem examination was held as the coroner accepted a hospital doctor’s certification that the cause of Mr Blastland’s death was multiple organ failure as a result of Covid-19 pneumonitis.

The clinical reviewer concluded that Blastland’s clinical care at Full Sutton was of a good standard, equivalent to that he could have expected to receive in the community.

She found that his long-term medical conditions were managed in line with national clinical guidance, appropriate care plans were in place and there were regular reviews. She made no recommendations.

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