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Sister of woman raped and drowned in bath begs for murderer not to be released

The sister of a woman who was raped and drowned has called on the parole board to keep her murderer behind bars.

Michael Wade was jailed for life for raping vulnerable mum Jean Whitfield before drowning her in a bath at her home.

Having now served the 20 year minimum term of his sentence he has made a bid for freedom, Chronicle Live reported.

Ahead of a hearing in June which will determine whether Wade can be let out, Jean’s sister Joan Robinson has penned an emotional statement to be read to the parole board.

She has them to keep Jean’s killer safely locked-up and spoken of how the trauma of her sister’s murder led her to think about taking her own life.

The 59-year-old, from Chester-le-Street, wrote: “On August 4, 1999 my life was torn apart. I found out that my sister had been brutally murdered by Michael Wade, the man you are now considering for release.

“Mr Wade beat, raped and drowned my sister in the bath while her partner was out at work, after she had shown him the kindness of putting a roof over his head for a couple of nights unaware of what a monster he really was.

“At any point he could have stopped what he was doing and let her live. But he even broke back into the flat to make sure that she was dead.”

Joan spoke of how her marriage was breaking down and her mother was ill at the time of Jean’s murder, yet she attended Middlesbrough Crown Court every day to follow the trial.

There she listened to “what this man had done to my sister, who was in constant pain from arthritis and unable to defend herself and living with the fear that if the case went wrong then this monster could walk out of court a free man, free to attack, rape and murder other women.”

She continued: “After the court case ended and Mr Wade was convicted my life spiralled downwards.

“I had a nervous breakdown, my marriage ended and I left my children behind because I could not cope.

“All I could think about was ending my life and how I would do it. I made two attempts at suicide and was refereed to MIND by my doctors.

“I have suffered nightmares and sleepless nights for 20 years but have slowly managed to rebuild my life hoping that this day would never come.

“But the fact that I’m having to write this letter means that my nightmare has returned and is very real.

“My sister is dead! She did not get the opportunity to live out her life and see her daughter grow up, get married, have kids.”

Joan wrote of how her daughter had been “robbed of the love of her mother and has to live with the knowledge of how she died.

“I have been robbed of the love of my older sister. I have had my life torn apart and my children have had to face things in their lives that no child ever should.”

Joan said the whole family are “living full life sentences” because they have to deal with the consequences of Wade’s actions every day.

“It does not end for us after 20 years,” she continued.

“Because there are no women to rape or attack in prison. It continues until the day we die.

“Should this man be released I would be fearful for the welfare of my family, Jean’s family and the wider community, especially women.”

Joan said she found the idea “extremely difficult” that he could seen be “roaming free in the community”.

“I know you say he will be monitored, but he has evaded the authorities before, and my sister paid with her life.”

Jean, who weighed just seven stones and suffered severe pain caused by arthritis, met Wade when he lived near her on a caravan site in Gateshead several years before she died.

The 42-year-old victim was alone at her flat in Birtley while her partner Dennis Fallon was at work, when her killer struck on August 5, 1999.

Wade, who had only recently been released from prison for another violent attack, forced his way into her home before beating and raping her.

Mr Fallon found her lifeless body underwater in the bath when he returned home from a nightshift at the Shell garage near the Redheugh Bridge.

A manhunt was launched with Northumbria Police naming drifter Wade, who already had convictions for rape and violence, as their prime suspect.

He was later arrested and convicted of rape and murder following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Wade, who was 43 when he was charged, was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years.