A ‘lack of honesty with professionals’ and security concerns are just some of the reasons behind the Parole Board’s decision to keep child killer Paul Seddon behind bars.

Seddon was jailed for life after gunning down Bolton schoolboy Dillon Hull, age five, on Bankfield Street, Deane, on August 6, 1997.

Dillon was shot in the head by Seddon as he walked hand-in-hand with his stepfather, who was also shot but survived.

As reported by the then-Bolton Evening News in 1998, the courtroom cheered as Seddon, then aged 27, was jailed for life after his failed attempt to kill Dillon’s stepfather John Casey, formerly known as John Bates, for £5,000 after Casey fell out with drugs boss Billy Webb.

Later, in 2001, Webb was murdered in Wigan.

At the time, Dillon was described as “the youngest victim of Britain’s drug wars” by the BEN.

Seddon first became eligible to be considered for release on August 1, 2022. His second review by the Parole Board took place on July 5 last year.

The oral hearing was adjourned on two occasions because of ‘the need to investigate security concerns’, according to the decision summary.

The Bolton News: It will be 27 years since Dillon Hull was killed in AugustIt will be 27 years since Dillon Hull was killed in August (Image: File photo)

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The hearing, which was conducted via video link, heard from Seddon’s legal representative that he hoped to be transferred to open prison as a result of the review.

However, upon considering Seddon’s dossier, a victim personal statement, oral evidence from Seddon’s probation officer, testimony from a prison official, psychologists, a security representative, and Seddon himself, the board decided to reject Seddon’s request.

The board, which is independent from the government, saw evidence that Seddon, aged 52 at the time of the review, had made progress during his sentence, undertaking programmes to address issues with his decision-making and tendency to use violence, as well as completing work on drugs misuse.

The panel heard that Seddon ‘had demonstrated limited application of relevant skills and learning while in custody’, with witnesses not supporting his release or transfer to open conditions.

Factors in favour of allowing Seddon to be released or move to open conditions included the support of his family and a good chance he could get a job, the summary of the board’s decision states.

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A release plan provided by Seddon’s probation officer, which included strict limitations on Seddon’s contacts and movements and a requirement that he live in designated accommodation was presented to the board.

However, concerns over Seddon’s lack of honesty with professionals, security concerns, drugs misuse, and concerns regarding whether or not he was in a relationship led the board to consider that the plan was ‘not robust enough’.

The Bolton News: Paul Seddon was jailed for the murder in 1998Paul Seddon was jailed for the murder in 1998 (Image: File photo)

As a result, the panel ‘was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public’ and did not recommend his release or move to open prison.

Seddon will be eligible for another review ‘in due course’, according to the Parole Board.

Decisions are based solely on whether a prisoner would represent a ‘significant risk to the public’ after release. The board does not assess whether someone has been sufficiently punished or whether their original sentence was long enough.

In the November 1998 sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Forbes recommended Seddon serve at least 25 years of his life sentence.

Sir Thayne Forbes, who later presided over the Harold Shipman trial, told Seddon: “You brought death to an innocent little boy who had the tragic misfortune to be holding your target's hand when you opened fire.”

Seddon did not admit to the killing at the time, shouting as he was led from the dock: “I’m just a scapegoat. I didn’t pull the trigger. It wasn’t me.”

It was not until 13 years later, in 2010, that Seddon finally admitted his role in the murder.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Paul Seddon following an oral hearing. The panel also refused to recommend a move to an open prison.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing. Evidence from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements may be given at the hearing.

“It is standard for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.

“Under current legislation he will be eligible for a further review in due course. The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.”

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Bolton. Please get in touch at jack.fifield@newsquest.co.uk.