Freed murderer convicted of grooming children online

A KILLER this week convicted of trying to groom children online should never have been let out of jail, the mother of his murder victim has said.

Barry Wilcox was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 for killing shop assistant Samantha Walker in Malmesbury the year before. He is thought to have served 19 years before being released on licence.

Learning that Wilcox was back in the dock, Samantha’s mum Pat Walker, 74, from Tetbury, told the Adver: “He should never have been let out. The things he did to my daughter were unbelievable. He’s evil.

“He should be put away for life – and life should mean life.

“It should have meant life before when he killed my daughter.”

Wiltshire Times:

Reacting, Justice Secretary and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “This is a despicable case and the people of Swindon should be reassured that I am urgently reviewing sentencing with the Prime Minister to ensure the public are properly protected.

“I want dangerous criminals kept off our streets, serving sentences that truly reflect the severity of their crimes.”

On Wednesday, Wilcox was back before the courts. The 50-year-old of Amber Court, off County Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child and causing a child to look at an image of sexual activity.

Swindon magistrates were told he had chatted online with two people he believed were girls aged 13 and 14. The profiles were in fact being operated by vigilantes working with so-called paedophile hunter groups.

Wilcox was said to have attempted to persuade both girls to perform sexual acts on themselves. He sent an explicit image to one of the girls he believed to be a 14-year-old.

In the dock he spoke only to confirm his name, age, address and guilty pleas. Magistrates remanded him in custody to appear before Swindon Crown Court on October 17 to be sentenced.

They heard Wilcox had already been recalled to prison on licence.

Wiltshire Times:

Barry Wilcox pictured at the time of his conviction

He was convicted in the mid-90s of murdering 21-year-old Malmesbury Gateway supermarket worker Samantha Walker.

Samantha, a transplant patient, had suffered poor health for much her life, including jaundice and an allergy to sunlight.

On July 2, 1994, she had gone to a friend’s 21st birthday party in Malmesbury. Friends saw her leave the celebrations with Wilcox.

The following year, Bristol Crown Court heard Samantha and Wilcox had walked to a secluded paddock. He was unable to have sex because he had been drinking. Fearing she would return to the party and tell everyone about the failed encounter, the crazed labourer strangled Samantha with her t-shirt, punched her in the face and bit her.

He burned her with cigarettes after killing her.

Wiltshire Times:

Barry Wilcox’s latest custody shot Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Sentencing Wilcox to life imprisonment, Judge Richard Tucker described Samantha’s death as a tragic and unnecessary loss of life.

“You have no possible defence to the charge of murder,” he told Wilcox.

Following the case, Samantha’s father John told reporters: “She was our only daughter and the wickedness of her death was she was getting out of her life-long condition and thinking and shaping up as a woman.

“Then this had to happen.

“She was killed in a totally unprovoked manner.”

Grieving mum Pat added at the time: “I feel justice was done but we are also under a sentence of not having Sam and we will miss her for the rest of our lives.”

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