Scotswood prisoner to be released 17 years after attempted robberies of coat and phone

Danny Weatherson spent 17 years in jail for two attempted robberies of a coat and a mobile phone. Was given an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence, a type of ‘indefinite’ custodial punishment, which has now been scrapped.
Danny Weatherson was handed an indefinite sentence for two attempted robberies and has spent the last 17 years in jail. Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

A prisoner who spent 17 years in jail after being convicted of trying to steal a coat and a mobile phone is set to be released.

Danny Weatherson, from Scotswood, Newcastle, was 17 when he was convicted of two attempted robberies and given an "indefinite" sentence in 2005.

His father Maurice told ITV Tyne Tees: "It's a huge relief. We've waited for so long.

"He didn't deserve to do 17 years."

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He added: "It's going to take a couple of years to feel normal. He's institutionalised he's been away that long.

"He'll be looking forward to it but he'll be worried about it."

Mr Weatherson was given an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence, a form of ‘indefinite’ custodial punishment, which has now been scrapped.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court had initially recommended he serve 15 months before applying for parole.

However, he is still behind bars at HMP Northumberland after multiple release attempts were rejected by the parole board, which his family says has taken a severe toll on his mental and physical health.

Following a hearing earlier this month, it has been agreed that Mr Weatherson can be released.

It is understood he is set to leave prison in September but he must stay at an approved hostel in Newcastle's West End and will be monitored by an electronic tag.

Danny Weatherson was just 17 when he was convicted of two attempted robberies. Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Daniel Weatherson following an oral hearing."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."A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims."Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority."

Mr Weatherson is one of thousands of convicts serving an IPP sentence which came into force in England and Wales in 2005. They were axed in 2012 but many serving the sentences remain behind bars.

They were introduced to prevent offenders whose crime did not warrant a life sentence from being released if they were thought to still pose a danger to the public.

Critics have argued they have led to hundreds of convicts who could be safely released remaining in jail after becoming institutionalised.

On IPP sentences, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We have already reduced the number of unreleased IPP prisoners by three-quarters, having abolished the sentence in 2012, and we will continue to help those still in custody to progress towards release.

“The release of prisoners serving IPP sentences remains a matter for the independent Parole Board.”

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