Prison Life for a triple child murderer

Elsie, the mother of Samantha, Dawn and Paul, took an overdose six months after their murders;
“...I tried to commit suicide...I was on such a high dosage of sedation from the doctors to try and get me through this husband come to me one day and he just said he couldn't cope with it anymore and he was putting in for a divorce.”
Elsie Urry, Children’s Mother
In prison, McGreavy becomes one of the country’s most notorious and long serving prisoners. At one time he challenged Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, to a fight to prove that he was the most notorious of the pair.
In prison the molesters and murderers of children are often persecuted and frequently physically attacked.
David McGreavy was no exception.
“McGreavy’s time in prison has been very much up and down, and that’s hinged on the extent to which his fellow prisoners are aware of the crimes that he’s carried out. When they have been aware of them, he’s had a rather unpleasant time, being subject to everything from mild threats of violence to full-on serious physical assaults. This has led to him spending much of his time in segregation, or in vulnerable prisoners’ units.“
Dr Elizabeth Yardley, Criminologist
In 1975 he is seriously assaulted by fellow prisoners. Three years later he is threatened with violence.
In 1991 his cell is fouled by other inmates. Just four days later he goes into closed conditions.
In 1994 he is transferred to category D open conditions. But his transfer to Leyhill Prison in South Gloucestershire broke down after press reports meant prisoners learnt of his past crimes.
In 1995 several prisoners try to attack him in an open prison. They’re prevented.
In 1996 McGreavy is again the victim of a serious assault.
In 2006 McGreavy, now 54, prepared for parole. He stayed in a bail hostel in Liverpool. It transpired that he had been allowed to walk around Liverpool unsupervised in preparation for his release from Ford Prison in Arundel, West Sussex. Local papers started publishing his photo. It showed his long locks of hair were long gone. The balding, bespectacled face that stared down the camera lens now looked haunted. McGreavy once again became headline news. He was sent back to prison.
“ interesting theme in the post-Leveson era...someone in the prison service or the police service...or the Home Office, tipped off the press about this, who photographed McGreavy wandering the streets in Liverpool.”
Paul Connew, Media Commentator & Ex Editor Sunday Mirror
The Home Office said it was normal procedure to let lifers out temporarily.
The idea of his release galvanised the local community. The then MP for Worcester, Mike Foster, called for McGreavy to be barred from ever returning to the city:
“These were indescribable acts of brutality that still sicken...My gut instinct is that this man should spend the rest of his life in prison.”
“...they'd seen him in an internet café and when I got to hear that I went straight to Sir George Young the MP and spoke to him about it and I said to him, ‘They're supposed to keep me informed of any movement like that of him.’
Elsie Urry, Children’s Mother

In April 2007, McGreavy’s latest bid for parole was refused. Elsie was still in disbelief he was even allowed to apply for freedom;
“This man took three children’s lives. He should have got the electric chair...If he was released, I’d be waiting outside with a gun.”
Then the Parole Board recommended McGreavy for open conditions. Not everyone agreed.
In 2009, McGreavy underwent his seventh review hearing. His legal team challenged the then Secretary of State’s refusal to recommend their client be transferred to open prison.
McGreavy was told he must remain under closed prison conditions but the judge imposed a ban on naming McGreavy to protect him from other prisoners.
He could only be referred to as prisoner M.
McGreavy, therefore, joined a notorious set of human beings. Such anonymity is more usually applied to released prisoners such as the murderers of toddler James Bulger. People like Maxine Carr, the former partner of Ian Huntley who killed Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, have been granted lifelong anonymity.
David McGreavy’s legal team had used four sections of the Human Rights Act to keep his identity secret:
Article 2 - the right to life.
Article 3 - the right to protection from ill-treatment.
Article 5 - the right to liberty and security.
Article 8 - the right to privacy and a family life.
Quincy Whitaker, McGreavy’s lawyer, insisted that if fellow prison inmates learned of his identity through the media, there was ‘a serious likelihood of a serious attack’.
For some, such an attack would be justice.
“He doesn’t deserve human rights, he’s not even human...I think about what he did every minute of every day because he took my life away. I can’t go to family parties any more, I can’t celebrate anything...I can’t and will never move on. For what he did to my three children and me he deserves the same treatment that they got - death.”
Elsie Urry, Children’s Mother
In January 2013 McGreavy applied to be transferred to an open prison and was refused. With his anonymity in place the press were unable to report this.
“...this order lasted for 4 years. It was challenged in 2013 by a group of media organisations, and the Secretary of State as well, who said, we have principles of open justice. We have freedom of expression of the press...we have the principle of open justice, that justice shouldn’t just be done, but it should be seen to be done.”
Dr Elizabeth Yardley, Criminologist

By 2013, McGreavy had been in jail for forty years, twice his original sentence.
On 22 May, his anonymity order was lifted. As soon as fellow prisoners knew his identity, his cell was trashed and his bed was urinated on. Human excrement was smeared on his walls.
McGreavy currently lives in closed conditions in a vulnerable prisoners’ unit:
“We still don’t know why he committed those murders and so, for me, my feelings towards McGreavy are; this is a man who would still pose a risk to other children should he be released back into the community. We know of no reason why he behaved in this way. And because we know of no reason as to why he behaved in that way, it would be impossible to treat him, to change his behaviour. I don't know if he's expressed remorse, I don't know if he now realises the gravity of the offences that he committed. I wouldn’t want to be part of the process that ever took the risk of three other children dying.”
Professor David Wilson, Criminologist
In failing to explain his motives for his actions publicly, and in trying to remain anonymous, McGreavy had probably ensured he would indeed die in jail.
However, there may come a time when some believe he has served his time. And then, like other notorious child killers like Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, McGreavy will be given anonymity:
“...we may never know what happens next and what the future holds for the Monster of Worcester...David McGreavy.”
Fred Dinenage