Monster who strangled woman, 19, to be deported back to UK free to walk streets

James Duggan strangled Rebecca Ryle to death, just meters away from her home in Perth, Australia, when he had offered to walk her back after a night out in 2004

James Duggan it set to be deported back to the UK where the family of his victim say he can “start afresh”

A British man who strangled a woman to death after a night out is set to be deported back to the UK to walk the streets as a free man.

James Duggan was convicted in 2006 of murdering Rebecca Ryle, 19, after meeting her at a pub in Perth, Australia when he was a teenager.

Duggan, who emigrated to Australia from Liverpool, Merseyside, had offered to walk Rebecca home on May 5, 2004, but instead choked her to death when he strangled her for more than three minutes in a park.

Rebecca’s half-naked body was discovered by police a few hours later, in a field just meters from her home, the Liverpool Echo reports.

But now, despite being refused parole in 2019, the killer has been released from jail and is set to return to the UK where he will be free to “start afresh”.

Rebecca Ryle’s body was left half naked in a field just meters from her home when she was strangled to death after a night out


Liverpool Echo/Family Handout)

Rebecca’s brother, Andy, told The ECHO: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the loss of Rebecca destroyed our family. Our lives were utterly shattered, where so much happiness had once been.

“We had come to Australia to start a new life, and within six months, it had been completely decimated. It had really gone from our dream life to a nightmare.

“There’s no way of knowing the extent of the damage that the trauma has caused us and still continues to do so.

“The kind of effects that such a heinous and destructive crime has on your mental health is often overwhelming – especially when it’s clear that the person responsible continues to show no remorse or motive, nearly 20 years after the fact.”

When asked about how they felt hearing Duggan was released from prison, Andy said: “Anger. Sadness. Anxiety. Fury. The worst emotions possible really, and all the energy that has to be spent going through them.

“I find some small comfort in knowing this man will never set foot in Australia ever again, and my parents can rest easy knowing that they’ll never have to bump into him in the street.

“However, I find it horrific that the alternative is that the British public is subjected to him, and that he can start afresh.

“I hope that by writing this, at least some people are made aware that this monster will be around. He doesn’t deserve the opportunity to start again. He stole a life.”

During a review of Duggan’s case by the parole board in 2019, the Attorney General refused to release him due to poor behavior in prison, a return to substance abuse and offending.

He said: “Given the serious nature of the offence, Mr Duggan’s poor prison behaviour, uncertainty around the level of professional support that he would receive in England, lack of acknowledgment of wrong doing and apparent lack of remorse, I am not convinced Mr Duggan’s release to parole is appropriate at this time.”

But following a new review in September 2021, Duggan was recommended for release with two years on parole, after it was noted he had engaged with treatment.

A report by a senior forensic psychologist in June that year claimed Duggan had “engaged in a considerable amount of treatment” but added he had a “moderate risk of violent reoffending.”

A report from the community corrections officer dated July 19, 2021, said Duggan “imparted remorse and regret towards the offense as well as acknowledging the victim.”

Duggan was released from prison on March 11, 2022, almost 18 years after he strangled Rebecca to death.

The convicted murderer never fully explained why he turned and killed Rebecca after offering to walk her home.

During the court case, Western Australian Supreme Court, Justice Lindy Jenkins described the crime as “bizarre” when she jailed him for a minimum of 11 years and six months.

Justice Jenkins said the murder was every parent’s worst nightmare, adding Rebecca had died “alone and degraded.”

As part of his parole Duggan must have no direct or indirect contact with Rebecca’s family, be deported back to the UK from Australia, and to comply with any and all directions and restrictions now or in the future, made, issued or imposed by the Federal Government or Government of Western Australia.

Duggan is currently in an immigration detention center in Australia, awaiting deportation back to the UK.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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