Murderer and kidnapper Michael Sams denied parole for fourth time

PA File picture of killer Michael Sams, serving life for the murder of teenager Julie Dart and kidnap of estate agent Stephanie Slater.
Michael Sams murdered Julie Dart in 1991, going on to kidnap Stephanie Slater six months later. Credit: PA

Notorious murderer and kidnapper Michael Sams has been denied parole for a fourth time.

The 81-year-old, from Keighley in West Yorkshire, was convicted in 1993 of the murder of Julie Dart, who was 18, and the kidnap of estate agent Stephanie Slater, then 25.

He was given four life sentences.

Following a Parole Board hearing earlier this month, a panel said Sams did not meet the criteria for release.

In its judgement, the board said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing and in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Sams was suitable for release.

"Nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Sams should be transferred to open prison."

Sams, a former member of the Merchant Navy and heating engineer, gained national notoriety for the treatment of his victims.

He kept both his women inside coffin-like boxes at his workshop in Newark.

Ms Dart, from Yorkshire, was later killed with a hammer, while Ms Slater, who was from Birmingham, was released after eight days when Sams received a £175,000 ransom.

Michael Sams kept his victims in this workshop in Newark. Credit: PA

Sams first became eligible for release in February 2017, but has had three previous requests denied by the Parole Board.

His most recent parole hearing was held on 20 March, but Sams chose not to give any evidence or be legally represented.

The panel were told that Sams’ behaviour had been generally good, although "he had not actively engaged with professionals to discuss his progress and sentence plan".

Sams' victims Julie Dart (left) and Stephanie Slater (right) Credit: PA

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Michael Sams following an oral hearing. The panel also refused to recommend a move to open prison. 

"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." 

They added that parole reviews are undertaken "with extreme care" and that protecting the public is the "number one priority". 

Under current legislation, Sams will be eligible for another review in due course, the date of which will be set by the Ministry of Justice.

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