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Harry Street: Probe into how mass killer, 70, was 'lost'

An investigation is now under way today into how the authorities "lost" Birmingham serial killer Harry Street.

An investigation was under way today into how the authorities “lost” Birmingham serial killer Harry Street.

Answers were demanded after it emerged the mass murderer – who gunned down five victims in 1978 – settled in Hall Green after his release in 1993 and amassed a chilling stockpile of weapons.

West Midlands Police admitted Street’s details were not on any force computer.

It also confirmed he was only unmasked as one of the Midlands’ most notorious killers by a “tenacious” officer investigating a neighbour dispute.

Street, who used to be called Barry Williams, was detained indefinitely on Monday after he admitted harassing his neighbours and stockpiling a new arsenal of guns and bombs.

A serious case review has been launched into apparent failures in monitoring the 70-year-old, who killed three members of the same family in West Bromwich and a second couple in Nuneaton.

Former West Bromwich East MP Peter Snape said he was amazed Street was allowed to move back to the Midlands and put more lives at risk.

He said he lobbied the Home Office amid concerns over his release in the mid-1990s.

“It is surely a matter of concern that someone as dangerous as this was considered to be safe enough to be released in the first place,” he said. “It beggars belief that he could subsequently change his name, move back to the area close to the original killings, accumulate an arsenal of deadly weapons and perhaps come very close to repeating the terrible events of 1978.”

It emerged during Street’s sentencing hearing at Birmingham Crown Court that he was monitored before 2005.

But Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, which should have been supervising him, would not comment on what went wrong when his health deteriorated.

A spokesman said: “Harry Street was released on a conditional discharge, subject to specific conditions, in 1993 by a Mental Health Tribunal, an independent judicial body, after careful consideration of the medical evidence presented to them.

“In cases such as this it is usually a condition of discharge set by the Mental Health Tribunal, that there is regular supervision and monitoring by mental health professionals, with reports being made at regular intervals to the Ministry of Justice.

“We can advise that since the introduction of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, we have worked with other local agencies under those arrangements to manage patients who pose a serious risk of harm to the public.

“The Strategic Management Board of the West Midlands MAPPA is undertaking a serious case review on a discretionary basis, to identify any lessons from this case.

“It would not be appropriate for our Trust to comment any further until this review is complete.”

In a separate statement, Det Chief Supt Kenny Bell, head of West Midlands Police CID, said: “There was no trace of Harry Street on any police systems. But it is thanks to the tenacity of a local police officer who, when the harassment escalated, made extensive checks which led her to Street’s GP and his true identity.

“Immediate steps have already been taken to ensure that all relevant information is shared and is accessible. A MAPPA serious case review has been commissioned and I am determined lessons will be learned.”

 

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