Police killer who ‘should have died in jail’ on the streets

Harry Roberts
Harry Roberts

There has been anger after a notorious police murderer was spotted living in Peterborough following his release from prison.

Harry Roberts was spotted in Peterborough city centre and in the Orton area of the city over the Christmas period.

Harry Roberts

Harry Roberts

He was seen getting on the bus, and shopping and using a mobile phone, with passers-by unaware of his past.

Roberts (79) was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 30 years in prison in 1966, after murdering Temporary Detective Constable David Wombwell and Detective Sergeant Christopher Head. A third officer Police Constable Geoffrey Fox, was killed by accomplice John Duddy.

The three Metropolitan police officers stopped a van with no tax disc in Shepherd’s Bush and were shot to death. A £1,000 reward was put up for Roberts as he went on the run.

Hundreds of police officers and thousands of members of the public attended the three men’s funerals. They thought Roberts would die in jail but he was released from HMP Littlehey, near Huntingdon, in October 2014.

He is believed to have made his home in Peterborough.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson was horrified that Roberts had been released.

Mr Jackson said: “I’m appalled. This man was a career criminal and he committed a shocking and horrific crime and he was lucky that he didn’t hang. The families of the three murdered police officers must be mortified to see him laughing and joking. He is not fit to be released and should have died in prison for his heinous crimes.”

Following Roberts’ release, Police Federation chairman Steve White slammed the decision to grant the murderer freedom.

He said there had been opposition to the release from police officers and from the general public, who thought the murderer should not have been given parole.

He said: “While Harry Roberts may have served 48 years in prison, we must not lose sight that he was involved in the brutal murder of three unarmed police officers; their families have been condemned to a life sentence without their loved ones. The public outcry also demonstrates the strength of feeling among the law-abiding British public who understand that police officers put themselves in dangerous positions to protect their communities, but rightly expect the backing of the law and criminal justice system in doing so.”