Prisoner released after serving 24 years for rape and murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Gaynor Batty

David Lawson
David Lawson
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MURDERING rapist David Lawson has been released from prison 24 years after he was jailed for killing a Sunderland schoolgirl.

In one of the most shocking crimes in Wearside’s recent history, Lawson raped and murdered schoolgirl Gaynor Batty in a city centre car park in December 1988.

Gaynor Batty

Gaynor Batty

Now, the Echo understands the killer was released from a prison in the south of England in October.

Lawson, formerly of Thorney Close, Sunderland, was just 20 when he beat 14-year-old Gaynor to death and dumped her body on the top of a multi-storey car park at Crowtree Leisure Centre.

He was found guilty of rape at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting murder. In 1989, he was jailed for life and ordered to spend a minimum of 16 years behind bars.

Lawson had been serving his sentence in HMP Acklington, now HMP Northumberland prison, but was moved south prior to his release.

It is understood that, as part of his release conditions, he is banned from returning to Sunderland or contacting Gaynor’s family.

Although he had long-since served his minimum jail term – or “tariff” – for his crimes, Lawson had been told that he would only be freed once a parole board was convinced he no longer posed a danger to the public.

In 2009, it was revealed Lawson has spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash after claiming his human rights had been violated.

The killer took then Justice Secretary Jack Straw to court over a failure to give him access to a treatment programme known as a “Better Lives Booster”.

The project aimed to reduce the risk of re-convictions for sexual and violent offenders, and was completed by those who are close to being released back into the community. However, it was not then available at HMP Acklington, where Lawson was being held.

Gaynor’s relatives, including her parents, George and June Batty, are understood to have been informed of the release.

The family were left distressed only last week after it was revealed a Facebook page, set up in Gaynor’s name and using her picture, had been created.

Police were informed but as the page was not abusive in its content, no action was taken.