Prostitute killer could be free by 2012

A BULWELL man caged for murdering a prostitute to see "what it was like to kill someone" could be back on the streets in less than five years.

Byron Smith (41), of Keys Close, was jailed for life in 1998 for the brutal murder of Christine Maguire.

He stabbed her 15 times in June 1997 and told his lover he killed Miss Maguire because she "p****d me off".

At the time, Nottingham Crown Court heard that after Smith had killed Miss Maguire, he searched her home for money to buy crack cocaine.

But now a review has taken place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London at which Smith's minimum term behind bars was set at 15 years.

When time he served on remand before going on trial is taken into consideration, he will now be eligible for parole in the summer of 2012.

Mr Justice Field described the killing as "heartless" and that under new, tougher sentencing-guidelines, he would have set Smith's minimum sentence at higher than 15 years.

But he is bound by the legislation at the time of the killing.

At his trial, the "cool and calculating" Smith blamed his girlfriend for Miss Maguire's death, saying she was jealous. A jury didn't believe him.

During the review, Mr Justice Field said the case had been aggravated by Smith taking Miss Maguire's cash card and repeatedly trying to steal money from her accounts without success.

Smith will only be freed if he can prove he is no longer a danger to the public.

He will also remain on licence for the rest of his life, meaning he can be immediately returned to prison if he ever offends again.