A one-time schoolboy killer who went on to murder a second time after his release from prison has been denied parole for the second killing.
David Wynne Roberts, now 68, has been told that he is still too dangerous to be released from jail after a Parole Board queried his ‘openness and honesty with professional staff.’
Roberts has now served 15-years over his minimum sentence for the murder of Bronwen Nixon in her guesthouse in the Lake District in 1986.
The case became well known as the hunt for 67-year-old Bronwen’s killer was one of the first featured on the BBC series Crimewatch to result in a successful prosecution for murder.
The publicity led to the arrest of Roberts, who already had a conviction for murder in March, 1969, when he was only 14-years-old.
One-time schoolboy killer David Wynne Roberts who went on to murder a second time after his release from prison has been denied parole for the second killing
Roberts, now 68, has been told that he is still too dangerous to be released from jail after a Parole Board queried his ‘openness and honesty with professional staff’
At Manchester Crown Court on December 1, 1986, Roberts, then 32, was found guilty of Bronwen’s murder by a majority verdict of 11 to one.
After a number of appeals, his minimum term was set at 22-years, which expired in 2008.
Roberts was moved to an open prison in December 2019, because of improved insights into his crimes and better behaviour in jail.
The transfer to a Category D jail is often the precursor for a prisoner’s release on licence back into society.
Despite the positive reports, Roberts was told in late March that he was still too dangerous to be released. He will have to wait until 2025 for a tenth parole hearing.
MailOnline has obtained the Parole Board’s written summary of the reasons for rejecting Roberts’ application.
The Parole Board writes: ‘The panel heard that Mr Roberts had made further progress in open conditions but was presented with evidence which caused it concern in relation to his openness and honesty with professional staff.’
It states that Roberts’ Probation Officer had compiled a detailed release plan to manage him in the community, but the board doubted that the double killer would follow the rules.
These included requiring Roberts to stay in designated accommodation, and strict limitations on his contacts, movements and activities.
Roberts has now served 15-years over his minimum sentence for the murder of Bronwen Nixon in her guesthouse in the Lake District in 1986
The Parole Board added: ‘The panel concluded however that this plan was not robust enough to manage him in the community at this stage because it did not have sufficient evidence that he would fully comply with all of the required conditions.
‘The panel agreed that further testing in open conditions was essential.’
It concluded: ‘After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the very full evidence presented at the hearing and in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Roberts was suitable for release.
‘He will be eligible for another parole review in due course.’
Roberts repeatedly tried to get his jail sentence reduced after the Home Secretary at the time, Douglas Hurd, set a whole life tariff in 1988.
The legal aid funded battle culminated in a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court before Mr Justice Gibbs in February 2006. He set the 22-year minimum term.
The judge commented that both murders were strikingly similar. On March 4, 1969 Roberts, then just 14, went to see his mother’s elderly friend Sarah Hughes, who lived near his home in Valley.
While her back was turned he opened a drawer in the kitchen and found a knife with which he stabbed her repeatedly.
Roberts repeatedly tried to get his jail sentence reduced after the Home Secretary at the time, Douglas Hurd, set a whole life tariff in 1988
After replacing the knife, Roberts then ransacked the house, stealing PS10 – which he later spent on books – and attempted to drive her car away before making off.
Roberts was later arrested and some of the money he had stolen was recovered from within a ‘hollowed out’ book found in his bedroom.
Charged with murder, he stood trial at Caernarvon Assizes in July 1969. After his release in 1976 he was unable to find regular employment and spent time with Anglesey’s homeless.
In October 1985 he went to Blackpool, where in a nightclub he met a group of staff from a hotel in Ambleside, Cumbria.
Taking pity on him, they took him back with them and hid him in the staff quarters at the Rothay Manor Hotel. Then early in January 1986 he disappeared.
A few days later the body of the hotel’s owner, Bronwen Nixon, was discovered in a cottage in the hotel’s grounds by one of her sons.
She used the cottage as a studio, and she was found stabbed and strangled with her own scarf, her hands tied behind her back and with a plastic bag over her head.
Forensic examination revealed bloodstains in the hallway and items found to be disturbed in downstairs rooms.
Other evidence was indicative that a struggle had taken place on the staircase and continued into the bedroom.
The jury at Roberts’ trial heard Mrs Nixon had also suffered brutal injuries to her ribs ‘attributable to the offender stamping on her as she lay on the ground’.
Roberts then stole some of her possessions and drove away in her car.
The body of Bronwen Nixon was discovered in a cottage in the hotel’s grounds by one of her sons
Mrs Nixon had asked Roberts and his male partner to leave their room because the hotel was closed for the winter.
The hunt for her killer was featured in Crimewatch, and within an hour Roberts went to the police in London, claiming he was innocent.
But forensic evidence linked the victim’s body with his jumper.
Red fibres found at the scene were later traced to a Blackpool hotel where Roberts was known to have stayed.
Police enquiries forensically matched these fibres with a red scarf given to Roberts by a male friend who had gone to Malta.
Roberts’s two-week trial at Manchester Crown Court ended with his second murder conviction – and he remains in prison.