No early release for killer

Alan Kneebone
Alan Kneebone
Share this article

A KILLER who was jailed for the brutal knife murder of a young student a decade ago has been refused an early shot at parole.

Benjamin Foster, now 27, of Glastonbury Avenue, Wakefield, was jailed for at least 15 years after he was found guilty in 2002 of murdering 22-year-old Alan Kneebone.

A decade later Foster still claims he acted in self-defence and the stabbing had been an accident.

He said he had made “exceptional progress” in prison and to keep him in jail for so long would harm his own welfare. But his freedom bid was turned down at the Royal Courts of Justice this week.

Foster’s parole appeal has angered the victim’s father, David Kneebone, who says it has repeated their trauma.

Mr Kneebone, of Yeovil, said: “After ten years, he is saying he stabbed someone seven times and it was an accident. He has no remorse. He will forever be a danger to the public and will never add anything to anybody. He should never be released.”

The optician from Yeovil said the parole hearing repeated the trauma the family first experienced when Alan was murdered in November 2001.

The hearing was told that Wakefield College music student Mr Kneebone died in hospital after he was stabbed outside McDermott’s nightclub on Cheapside in November 2001.

Foster killed Mr Kneebone after taking exception to the singer dating his former girlfriend.

But Mr Justice Mitting said that while there had been some progress in prison, Foster was still considered a dangerous individual.

Foster had gained educational qualifications in prison and was recognised as an outstanding artist.

But he had not impressed those who had done rehabilitative work with him and was assessed as still posing a high risk of harm to others.

The judge said: “It is troubling that, in the view of experienced professionals, he continues to pose a high risk of harm to the public.”

Upholding the 15-year minimum, the judge said Foster’s continued detention would be in his own interest, as it will enable him to address his continuing problems.

He will be free to apply for release in November 2016, but will only then be freed if the parole board considers he is no longer a danger.