Original article from Kent Live
A Kent killer who has been behind bars since 1975 has been told that he will not be released.
The Parole Board for England and Wales has ruled that Patrick Mackay, 65, is “not suitable” to be freed but said he could remain living in an open prison.
Mackay was given a mandatory life sentence after being convicted of three manslaughters by diminished responsibility in November 1975.
The Old Bailey heard he had strangled two elderly women and killed a priest with an axe in London and Kent while two other murder charges against him were ordered to lie on file due to a lack of evidence.
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Mackay, who was in his 20s at the time of his killing spree, first became eligible to be considered for release in March 1995 and regular Parole Board reviews of his case have meant he has so far spent an additional 26 years in prison for the protection of the public.
The Parole Board was looking to establish whether Mackay was safe to be let out after his move to an open prison.
This was Mackay’s second Parole Board review and it triggered a hearing that included a dossier of more than 1,700 pages, along with evidence from his community-based probation officer, the official supervising his case in prison, a prison psychologist, a medical professional and an independent psychologist commissioned by his legal representative.
Mackay also gave evidence and a victim personal statement which “conveyed clearly the impact of Mr Mackay’s crimes and the long-term consequences of his offending” was also considered.
The Parole Board said: “At the time of his offending, these risk factors had included his early life experiences, not being able to control extreme emotions, not managing certain aspects of his personality, his willingness to resort to violence and to use weapons, his difficulties in forming relationships with others and his unhelpful ways of thinking.”
The Parole Board said there should be “a very cautious approach in respect of Mr Mackay’s rehabilitation”.
The first 27 years of his sentence were spent in Category A conditions due to concerns about his behaviour.
Time in the community
Better behaviour saw him moved to lower category prisons by December 2014 but Mackay had trouble adjusting to the less restrictive environment of an open prison and was returned to a closed facility in May 2015.
He was eventually moved to an open prison in November 2017, where he began working with professionals and was gradually allowed temporary release to spend time in the community.
These release spells were “limited” and then suspended when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
An independent psychologist commissioned by his legal team supported his release but other parole hearing witnesses said a further period of testing in the open prison was needed.
The Parole Board said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Mackay was suitable for release.
“However, on assessing the benefits and risks of Mr Mackay remaining in open conditions, the panel recommended that he should stay in the open estate.
“Mr Mackay will be eligible for another parole review in due course.”
Patrick Mackay is thought to be the UK's longest serving prisoner and one of the country's most notorious serial killers.
He was born in Dartford and committed his last killing in nearby village Shorne.
At the age of 22, the Nazi-obsessed killer split Father Anthony Crean's skull open with an axe and repeatedly stabbed him to death in 1975.
The killer was at the priest's home when he committed the horrific attack.
Father Crean, well known to his community, was a selfless character and had helped the homeless.
Mackay and Father Crean became friends some 18 months before he was murdered in 1973.
But the friendship did not stop Mackay, who was initially caught stealing an £80 cheque after breaking into the priest's home.
He was ordered to pay the money back but never did.
This caused an inevitable breakdown in their relationship and Mackay ended up leaving Kent for London.
His next return to the county was to commit a murder.
On March 21, 1975, Mackay made his return and struck Father Crean through the head with an axe.
The Nazi-obsessed beast dumped the 63-year-old's body in a bath and started the taps running while watching him die.
Mackay was arrested shortly afterwards.
Mackay was also convicted for the killings of Adele Price and Isabella Griffiths.
But he also admitted he had eight more victims before retracting his confessions.
The cases remain unsolved to this day.