Nov 18 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
BETTER monitoring of a sex offender could have stopped him murdering and dumping the bodies of a mum and her little girl.
That’s the categoric conclusion of a report into the handling of Thomas Smith, who killed Diane Fallon, 43, and her 10-year-old daughter Holly in Cronberry in April 2009.
The independent case review states: “Additional actions should have been pursued which may have enabled Strathclyde Police to identify the nature of contact between Thomas Smith and Diane and Holly.
“If these actions had been pursued, the disclosure of information to Diane would have given her an opportunity to make a decision about future contact with Smith.
“In addition, more pro-active policing may have prevented Smith from being in a position to offend.”
But Strathclyde Police were oblivious to Smith’s friendship with Diane.
And local police officers did not even know that Smith was a sex offender.
The report, by Robert Thomson of the Lothian and Borders Community Justice Authority, goes on: “Nor was there any current information held about him on the Scottish Intelligence Database (SID).
“Officers were therefore not aware of the need to gather any information about his lifestyle and presence in the community.”
Auchinleck man Smith, now 28, moved into a flat owned by family members in Cronberry, near Cumnock, in 2008.
It came after the former soldier was released from serving a six month prison sentence for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in Teeside.
Nobody in Cronberry knew about Smith’s background.
He subjected Holly and Diane to sickening sex assaults before he choked them with a Playstation cable using a technique he’d perfected in the army.
He then dumped their bodies – Holly’s in a nearby river and Diane’s in undergrowth – before claiming he had accidentally killed them.
Smith was sentenced to 32 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Lord Turnbull told him: “You have set a benchmark of depravity below which it is difficult to imagine any other human being sinking.”