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Robert William HEALEY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Sexual intercourse with both victims shortly before their death - Faked his own suicide
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: July 1986
Date of arrest: August 16, 1986 (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1949
Victims profile: Greeba Healey, 40 (his wife) and Marie Walker, 13 (his stepdaughter)
Method of murder: Struck with a rolling pin - Strangulation
Location: Hazel Grove, Stockport, Great Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on April 1, 1987

Double murderer Healey may be let out this year

Barbara Canning

February 15, 2006

A HAZEL Grove man who faked his own suicide after murdering his wife and 13-year-old stepdaughter could be freed on parole later this year, a High Court judge has ruled.

Robert William Healey, now 57, was jailed for life at Liverpool Crown Court in March 1987, after being convicted of murdering his wife, Greeba, and step-daughter, Marie.

Healey, from Longmead Avenue, struck 40-year-old Marie at least 15 times over the head with a rolling pin and strangled his teenage stepdaughter after having sex with both of them shortly before their deaths.

Mr Justice Gibbs - who ruled on the minimum term Healey must serve - said it can be inferred his motives for the killings arose out of 'his sexual activities within the home'.

"He took elaborate steps to cover his tracks, burying the victims, leaving a false trail suggesting they had left, and faking suicide," the judge said.

Healey had then left his clothes on a Prestatyn beach before eventually giving himself up.

Sitting at London's Royal Courts of Justice the judge ruled that Healey must serve 20 years behind bars before he can be considered for release on parole.

However from that, the time he spent in custody on remand - seven months and 12 days - must be deducted meaning that he can be considered for release in September this year, 19 years and 138 days after he was sentenced.

Mr Justice Gibbs said had Healey been sentenced today under current rules, it was arguable that he would deserve a 'whole life' tariff, given the seriousness of his crimes.

However, the sentencing rules in place in 1987 had to be applied to the case, the judge added.

Healey admitted subsequently that he was guilty of murder, acknowledging the defence argument he advanced at his trial - provocation and lack of intent - were false.

"There is evidence of good progress towards rehabilitation in prison," the judge said.

Even once Healey has served his 20-year tariff, he will only be freed if he can persuade the Parole Board he poses no public threat.

When, and if, released, he will remain on 'life licence' for the rest of his days, subject to prison recall if he puts a foot wrong.


Case No: MTR / 20 / 2005



Date: 7TH FEBRUARY 2006

 - v- 
 Robert William Healey 

Approved Judgment

I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this Judgment and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic.


1. On 30th March 1987 the applicant Robert William Healey was convicted of murdering his wife and his stepdaughter then aged 18. The trial Judge, Mr Justice McNeill, recommended a minimum term of at least fifteen years as necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and general deterrence. Lord Lane, then Chief Justice, said by way of recommendation to the Home Secretary: “I agree that 15 years is a proper minimum period apart from the risk factor.” His recommendation was dated 16th March 1988.

2. On 21st April 1997 a minimum term of 20 years was notified by the Home Secretary.   Pursuant to the provisions of Schedule 22(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the applicant has applied to the High Court for the tariff set by the Home Secretary to be reviewed. In reviewing the term, I have had regard to the report of the trial judge, the representations made on behalf of the applicant in 1995, and representations in support of this application dated 4th March 2005.

3. Pursuant to section 269 of the Act and to Schedule 22 (3) and (4), in considering the seriousness of the offences, I have had regard to the general principles set out in Schedule 21 and the recommendations made both by the trial judge and the Lord Chief Justice. I have also had regard to the length of the notified minimum term and to the provisions of section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 relating to the time spent in custody on remand.

4. The facts of the case in summary are as follows. The applicant killed his wife by striking her at least fifteen times over the head with a rolling pin, the fatal blow being a crush fracture of the left parietal region of the skull. He killed his thirteen year old stepdaughter by asphyxiation caused by sustained pressure to the throat. The applicant accepted that he had killed them but advanced a defence based on provocation and /or lack of intent, which the jury rejected. The applicant had had sexual intercourse with both victims shortly before their death. It can be inferred that his motives for the killings arose out of his sexual activities within the home. He took elaborate steps to cover his tracks, burying the victims, leaving a false trail suggesting they had left, and faking suicide. Eventually however he gave himself up. He has admitted subsequently that he is guilty of murder and has acknowledged that the defences advanced were false. There is evidence of good progress towards rehabilitation in prison.

5. Applying schedule 21 of the 2003 Act, it is arguable that the seriousness of the offences was “exceptionally high”, so as to justify a “whole life order” under paragraph 4(1). This is because one of the murders was of a child, and the motivation could reasonably be described as sexual: see paragraph 4(2)(b). A further arguable reason is that the murder was of two people, and in both cases sexual conduct can be said to have been involved. If the conditions under paragraph 4(1) are not satisfied, then the case would fall within paragraph 5(1) since at least one of the murders involved sexual conduct: see paragraph 5(2)(e). This would call for a thirty year starting point.

6. There were also other aggravating features: one of the victims was vulnerable by reason of her age; the applicant was in a position of trust in relation to her; and he buried the bodies of the victims afterwards in order to conceal his crimes. There were no significant mitigating factors.

7. It would however be wrong in principle to apply today’s standards as reflected by the provisions of the 2003 Act. In any event, pursuant to Schedule 22 (3) (1) (a) of the 2003 Act, the High Court cannot increase the minimum term notified by the Home Secretary. It is in my judgment necessary to examine the appropriate minimum term in the light of the principles applicable at the time of the sentence and recommendations. In doing so, I pay full regard to the observations and recommendations of the experienced trial judge, and the recommendation of a distinguished Lord Chief Justice.

8. In connection with the Home Secretary’s practice prevailing at the time of the offences and the original sentence, I have regard to the guidance sent to judges by Lord Bingham, then Lord Chief Justice, on 10th February 1997. This guidance provided a starting point in an “unexceptional” or “normal” murder of 14 years. It provided examples of mitigating and aggravating circumstances which would affect the starting point. None of the mitigating circumstances apply to the present case; but there a number of seriously aggravating features. These include the fact that two people were killed; that there had been sexual maltreatment of one of the victims; and the concealment of the bodies. I am driven to the conclusion on the facts of the present case that the Home Secretary was entitled to notify a term greater than that recommended, and that he was right to do so. In coming to that conclusion, I deprecate the inordinate delay in notifying the term. Nevertheless, in my judgment, by the standards then prevailing, the recommendation of fifteen years did not make adequate allowance for the fact that this was a double murder. Nor did it take into consideration sufficiently or at all the other serious aggravating factors.

9. For these reasons, I consider that the appropriate minimum term is 20 years. It seems to me that the progress of the applicant in prison, whilst commendable, is not of sufficient weight on the facts of the present case to justify a reduction in the term. However, under section 67 of the 1967 Act there falls to be deducted the time the applicant spent in custody on remand, namely 7 months and 12 days. In the result, the time set will be 19 years and 138 days.


Robert William Healey


Robert and Greeba Healey, and Marie Walker.



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