Fury as Pontypool killer husband, Michael Baldwin’s parole under review
9:49am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
A MOTHER whose daughter was murdered by her husband has spoken of her despair over his potential release into nearby towns and communities.
Desiree Baldwin, from Pontypool, was told Michael Baldwin would be relocated far away upon completion of his mandatory life sentence when he was convicted for the murder of 15-year-old Jenna Brookfield in 2003.
But three years away from parole his case is to be considered for review, with Mrs Baldwin told he could serve his final few years in the open prison at Prescoed, where he would be re-integrated into the community.
She said the news had “devastated” her.
“A life sentence should mean life,” she said. “If we were in America, in some states, he would have received the death penalty, simple as that.
“He has served just over a quarter of a life sentence and yet he may be on free licence soon.
“I don’t think he has suffered much at all. He is a monster who took everything from me.
“I loved Jenna more than anything. She was bright and beautiful, she would have been 26 now and probably had a family.
“It is beyond all reason that he be released at all, let alone around here.
“I am extremely angry about it. I was readying myself for this in three years’ time, not now. It’s too soon. It’s not justice.”
Baldwin played an elaborate hoax on his wife and the police for 12 weeks before he was arrested in 2002 – making silent calls and sending text messages to her phone to make her believe Jenna was still alive and had run away.
He even took part in a TV appeal for her safe return, after the teenager disappeared in September that year.
In fact, he had murdered her and hidden her body in a shallow grave a few miles from her home.
Mrs Baldwin, who is in the process of changing her name following her divorce from her husband, said the thought of him setting up home near Prescoed prison, which is just eight miles away from where she lives in Pontnewynydd, was too much.
“There’s the potential for me and my family to see him, and if that was to happen I fear I would end up facing life myself,” she said. “That’s how strongly I feel.
“I trusted him with my daughter, with my life. Now my life is in pieces.
“He shouldn’t have any right to set up life around here.”
Mrs Baldwin has been asked to submit a victim impact statement, to go before the parole board on Monday, when the case will be discussed.
She said she was sure Baldwin had the potential to do it again to another family.
“He’s 48, fit and healthy,” she added. “If he was being released at 70 it would be a different story, but he will go on to have another life and have other relationships.
“I don’t think he is rehabilitated. Face to face he is a lovely, lovely bloke, but he is so manipulative. I lived with him for 13 years, but if the police hadn’t caught him he would still be living here now, and he would still have me looking over my shoulder for Jenna.
“April Jones’ murderer got a whole-life sentence. That is what he (Baldwin) deserves.”
In the ten years since Baldwin was convicted, Mrs Baldwin said her family had been shattered.
Her son, Joshua, 21, is being treated at a rehabilitation unit in Caerleon, after spiralling into drink and drugs, while her youngest child, Hannah, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I haven’t just lost Jenna, but Joshua too,” Mrs Baldwin added. “I lost my job, my home, everything.
“I don’t have a life anymore. I will never trust anyone again.
“If he set up home around here I would become even more reclusive.
“They told me before the nearest he would be would be outside Wales.
“Now they say he will not be allowed in Torfaen, but that is not enough.
“Hannah is a community carer. She travels across all the boroughs. She has just come to terms with the fact she wants nothing to do with him.
“He hasn’t served a life sentence as far as I am concerned. He won’t even have served the number of years Jenna was alive before he took her from us.
“It’s just unbelievable what he did.”
A spokesman for the parole board – which only directs the release of a life-sentence prisoner if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for them to be detained in order to protect the public from serious harm – confirmed that Baldwin’s case was being reviewed.
“Mr Baldwin’s case has been referred to the parole board by the secretary of state for justice for consideration,” they said.
“The parole review period lasts a total of six months (providing there are no adjournments or deferrals), beginning with a referral to the parole board from the secretary of state for justice and ending with the parole board issuing a decision.
“I am unable to provide you with any further specific details as to where in the review period Mr Baldwin’s case is due to issues of Data Protection.”