Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The Murder of Colette Magee

On 10 November 2003, the body of Colette Magee was discovered at her home in Luton, Bedfordshire.

Matthew Thomas had previously been jailed on charges of rape, indecent assault, robbery and possession of a firearm and had served nine years of a 16-year sentence. He was released just two months before he stabbed Colette to death.

She was found after another woman told the police that she had been repeatedly raped at the same address. She had been abducted from a car park by Thomas and forced at knifepoint to drive her own car to Colette's flat. During her ordeal she had been unaware that Colette was lying dead in the room next door.

Thomas first came to the attention of the courts when he was 13 when he was arrested for assault. Before he killed Colette, he had been convicted of 22 separate offences, including actual bodily harm, rape and drug abuse.

Colette met her fate as a result of her new husband's acquaintance with the killer. She had just returned from Jamaica after marrying Darwin Dennis.

Thomas was considered at high risk of reoffending after failing to respond to a sex offenders' treatment programme but this was not taken into account when arrangements were made for his release. The Home Office;s response was:

˜We cannot comment on individual cases."

It is thought the former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, lost his job because of this case. Colette's sister, Rita James, said:

˜The system has failed my sister and our family. There is no doubt in my mind that had he been deported after release following his sentence, my sister would be alive today. I believe the rules giving Commonwealth and Irish citizens immunity from deportation after serving prison sentences should be reviewed."
Colette is seen here alongside the man who murdered her:

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