‘Monster of Worcester’ murderer has been freed from prison

‘He took my life as well’: Mother’s fury as ‘Monster of Worcester’ who her killed three children and impaled their bodies on railings is freed from prison

  • David McGreavy, 67, murdered siblings Paul, Dawn and Samantha Ralph in 1973
  • But Victim Support told children’s mother Elsie Urry that he has now been freed
  • She had been able to put forward suggestions on his conditions upon release
  • But Ms Urry said: ‘It is still not fair he has been released after what he has done’

The ‘Monster of Worcester’ who murdered three children before impaling their mutilated bodies on a fence outside their home has been released from prison.

David McGreavy, 67, murdered Paul Ralph, four, and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha at their home in Worcester in 1973.

But the children’s mother Elsie Urry was told by Victim Support this morning that he has been freed after 46 years in jail. She said today: ‘Also he’s took my life really.’

Paul Ralph, four, and his sisters Dawn, two, and Samantha, nine months (pictured, with their mother Elsie Urry in the 1970s)

David McGreavy (left, on day release in Liverpool in 2005) murdered Paul Ralph, four, and his sisters Dawn, two, and Samantha, nine months (right, with their mother Elsie Urry in the 1970s)

She had been able to put forward suggestions on his conditions upon release, with the exclusion zones imposed on him extended after her input.

Ms Urry, also known as Dorothy, told BBC Hereford and Worcester: ‘It gives me a bit of peace of mind but it is still not fair he has been released after what he has done.

‘There’s other prisoners that haven’t done half as bad as what he did to my children and they haven’t been put up for parole, so what has made him be able to get (it)?’

Ms Urry, who now lives in Hampshire, added: ‘They said he was going in for life and then they changed it for (at least) 20 years, but he hasn’t done 60 years. He took three lives, not just one or two; three. And also he’s took my life really.’

She has previously admitted that she ‘wanted him dead’, and believes the murders McGreavy committed were ‘every bit as bad as what the Moors Murderers did’. 

The children's mother Elsie Urry (pictured in 2016), who has also been known as Dorothy, said: 'What this animal did to my children was every bit as bad as what the Moors Murderers did'

The children’s mother Elsie Urry (pictured in 2016), who has also been known as Dorothy, said: ‘What this animal did to my children was every bit as bad as what the Moors Murderers did’

Conservative MP for Worcester Robin Walker has repeatedly written to successive justice ministers and home secretaries objecting to McGreavy’s release.

He said today: ‘Frankly, I don’t think someone who carried out such crimes should ever be let out. It is a great shame.

‘I understand there are strict curfew and tag conditions and he is banned from Worcester, and the area in Andover where Ms Urry lives.’

McGreavy, a family friend and lodger at the family’s home in Rainbow Hill, claimed he killed the children because one of them would not stop crying. 

McGreavy, then 21, had been babysitting the children while Ms Urry – then known as Dorothy Ralph – went to work in a pub, while her then husband had been out. 

The bodies of the children were found impaled on a neighbour's railings (pictured in 1973)

The bodies of the children were found impaled on a neighbour’s railings (pictured in 1973)

McGreavy was jailed for life in 1973. Paul had been strangled, Dawn was found with her throat cut, and Samantha died from a compound fracture to the skull.

How the Parole Board decides which inmates are safe to be released

The Parole Board assesses whether serving prisoners in England and Wales are safe to be released into the community or moved to open conditions, considering around 25,000 cases a year.

The organisation came under intense scrutiny following the original decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys decision earlier this year – which was then overturned last month.

After complaints that parole processes were shrouded in secrecy, ministers scrapped a rule banning the Board from disclosing information about the reasoning behind its panels’ findings.

So far, more than 1,400 requests for decision summaries have been lodged.

A document from the Parole Board about McGreavy’s case released last year said that over his near-half century in custody, the killer had changed ‘considerably’.

It added: ‘He has developed self-control, as well as a considerable understanding of the problems that he has had and what caused them.

‘The psychologist identified a number of factors which make it less likely that Mr McGreavy will reoffend in future.

‘These included his improved self-control and the fact that Mr McGreavy has learnt to remain calm in stressful situations.

‘He has also shown himself to be compliant and co-operative with authority, which suggests that he will comply with licence conditions. 

‘A network of supportive friends in the community was also identified as a protective factor.’

McGreavy has been eligible for parole for a quarter century but previous applications had been refused – most recently in 2016. 

The Worcester house where the three children were brutally murdered by McGreavy in 1973

The Worcester house where the three children were brutally murdered by McGreavy in 1973

A Parole Board spokesman said today: ‘We confirm that a panel of the Parole Board directed the release of David McGreavy following an oral hearing in November 2018.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release. 

‘The panel will have carefully looked at a whole range of evidence, including details of the original evidence and any evidence of behaviour change.

‘We do that with great care and public safety is our number one priority.’

Parole Board release decisions are sent to the Ministry of Justice, which arranges the physical release of prisoners. MailOnline has also contacted the MoJ for comment.

Butchered because the baby wouldn’t stop crying

The first picture released in 1973 of David McGreavy after he was taken into custody

The first picture released in 1973 of David McGreavy after he was taken into custody

Three children were murdered, apparently for no other reason than to silence the crying of a nine-month-old baby.

Then, their small bodies broken, they were impaled on garden railings in an act of grotesque savagery that shocked the nation.

The date was Friday, April 13, 1973. Mother Elsie Ralph, was 23 and working as a barmaid in Worcester.

Her husband Clive Ralph had gone to collect her from work and had left their children in the care of David McGreavy, a family friend and lodger.

The children knew him well, and had played with him happily in the past. The couple thought they had no reason to worry about the welfare of their children.

Yet, when they returned to their home in Gillam Street, Worcester, they discovered that the police were waiting for them. 

An officer escorted to them to the local police station and broke the news: Paul, four, Dawn, two, and baby Samantha were all dead.

The scene where Paul, Dawn and Samantha were found dead in Worcester in 1973

The scene where Paul, Dawn and Samantha were found dead in Worcester in 1973

The couple were told McGreavy had admitted killing them, but that police were still looking for their bodies. Later that night, they were found in a row, impaled on a neighbour’s spiked garden railings.

McGreavy, 21, who had been kicked out of the Royal Navy, reportedly told police that Samantha had wanted her bottle and wouldn’t stop crying.

‘I put my hand over her mouth and it went from there,’ he said. ‘It’s all in the house. On Paul I used a wire. I was going to bury [Paul] but I couldn’t… I went outside and put them on the fence. All I can hear is kids, kids, kids.’

Paul was strangled, Dawn had had her throat cut and Samantha died from a compound fracture to the skull.

It remains unclear if there was more to the killings and prison psychologists who interviewed McGreavy explored the possibility that there may have been a ‘sexual motive’.

A police officer stands outside the family home in Worcester in 1973

A police officer stands outside the family home in Worcester in 1973

In 2013, Mrs Urry, who took an overdose six months after losing her children, and has since moved from Worcester, said she had lived through ’40 years of hell’.

‘If he was released, I’d be waiting outside with a gun,’ she said after McGreavy’s Human Rights petition was quashed. ‘Life should mean life and he should never get to walk free. He got off lightly with a life sentence – he should have been hanged.

‘I think about what he did every minute of every day because he took my life away. I can’t go to family parties any more, I can’t celebrate anything. Put yourself in my shoes, how would you feel?

‘I can’t and will never move on. For what he did to my three children and me, he deserves the same treatment that they got – death.’ 

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