Image copyright
Rachel Playfair

Image caption
Simon Smith was pictured the night before murdering his three-month-old daughter Lauren

A triple killer who murdered his own babies by suffocating them has been moved to an open prison.

Simon Smith killed three-month-old Lauren, six-month-old Jamie and Eleisha, 10 months, between 1989 and 1994 in Staffordshire.

Lauren’s mother Rachel Playfair said she was “devastated” by the move.

The Ministry of Justice said public protection was its priority and offenders were returned to closed prison “at the first sign of concern”.

Following a hearing in January, the Parole Board recommended Smith was “suitable” for the move.

Eleisha and Jamie, his children by a previous marriage, were initially believed to have suffered cot deaths.

But an investigation began when his third child, Lauren, died of asphyxiation a year after Jamie.

Image caption
Police led an inquiry into the deaths of Eleisha (left) and Jamie

Smith was jailed in 1996 when Mr Justice McKinnon recommended a life sentence should mean life.

But at the time decisions on the minimum length of a life sentence were made by the home secretary.

The responsibility was handed to judges when the Criminal Justice Act 2003 was implemented and Smith was told he would serve at least 24 years.

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Rachel Playfair previously described Simon Smith as “pure evil”

Mrs Playfair said she was told by a victim liaison officer on Tuesday Smith had been moved last week and his release on temporary licence would happen in the coming weeks.

“I’m absolutely devastated, horrified,” she said.

“The fact that he will have effectively only served less than nine years per baby that he killed, to me is just unbelievable. My life sentence never ends.”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “This will understandably be a very distressing decision for the victims’ families and our thoughts remain with them.

“The independent Parole Board conducts a thorough risk assessment before recommending a transfer to open conditions.”



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