Rape victim Erin O’Neill pleads with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to end automatic early release of violent prisoners
ERIN waived her right to anonymity this week, telling how she was raped by thug Ross Wright who should still have been behind bars.
In a heart-rendering letter, Erin asks Sturgeon to change the law and finally end early release for dangerous criminals.
Last night, the mum of one said: “I chose to write to the First Minister as something has to be done about this problem and quickly.
“I want to make sure other people are spared the agony I’ve had.”
Erin, 25, from Clydebank, was raped by Ross Wright in May – six months after he had been let out of jail early.
Wright, 19, was on early release for a brutal bottle attack. But before his conviction was spent, he raped Erin, in her own home, as she slept.
This week, Erin waived her right to anonymity and told the Record of her ordeal to highlight the scandal of the automatic early release system . Now, she asks Sturgeon to change the system that allowed Wright free to roam the streets.
Her letter says: “If Ross Wright had not been granted early release and still been in prison serving his full sentence, he would not have been able to commit this serious sexual assault against me.
“I would not have had to bare the consequences of this crime … if he had been off the streets.”
The current early release rule came in in 1993. In 2007 and 2011, the SNP pledged in their election manifestos to end the system.
The party finally published a bill in August promising to stop the most violent prisoners getting out of prison before having served all of their sentence.
If it becomes law, it will only affect sex beasts jailed for four years or more or non-sex offenders jailed for 10 years or more.
So serious violent offenders would still qualify for early release. And despite Wright’s bottle attack, he would still be freed half-way through his sentence.
Erin writes: “I ask the Government and you, as First Minister, to take a tougher stance and include proposals that consider offenders like Wright.
“I believe that the law needs to be changed to protect people from crimes that are being committed by prisoners who are released early and go on to reoffend.”
The Scottish Government said they “remain committed to ending automatic early release for all prisoners” but claim that this can only be done once there is more room in jails.
Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell said: “The public expect prisoners to serve their full sentenc. The SNP should honour their
manifesto commitments to that effect.”
Erin’s Letter to the First Minister
Dear Nicola Sturgeon
My name is Erin O’Neill. I am writing to you because I was raped.
I was raped by a man named Ross Wright – who had been granted early release from prison.
He had been released early under the automatic early release system, which meant he was free too walk half-way through his sentence.
So in May 2014, while he should have been behind bars, he raped me.
It was the most horrific experience of my life and something I will never forget.
If Ross Wright had not been granted early release and still been in prison serving his full sentence, he would not have been able to commit this serious crime of serious sexual assault against me.
I would not have had to bear the consequences of this crime if he had served his full sentence, if he had been off the streets.
This crime and what happened to me did not only affect me but my family as well.
I know in 2007 and again in 2011 your party, the SNP, pledged to end the automatic release system.
But it was only in August this year that the SNP finally proposed a bill to do this.
Under the new proposals, my attacker would still qualify for early release.
So I ask the Government and you, as First Minister, to take a tougher stance and include new proposals that consider offenders
I ask you to please help others like myself by protecting people from serious and violent offenders by keeping them behind bars for their full sentence.
I believe that the law needs to be changed to protect people from crimes that are being committed by prisoners who are released early and go on to reoffend.
What happened to me could have been prevented.
Please make the changes and the law count and make sure no other person is put through the hell I have been through.