Stabbed in the back

Revealed: Home Office tried to gag Chindamo's character witnesses
The Home Office tried to suppress evidence that revealed Philip Lawrence's killer was a model prisoner who had made such excellent progress that he was now suitable for release into the community.

Two senior prison officers, including the deputy governor of Ford open prison in West Sussex, were banned from expressing any opinion on the rehabilitation of 26-year-old Learco Chindamo, sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the west London headmaster in 1995, it has been alleged.

Chindamo's lawyers claim that both key witnesses were also prevented from attending the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal which this week ruled Chindamo could not be deported to Italy. The intervention, which happened at the beginning of the year, was portrayed yesterday as a deliberate ploy to try to skew the evidence in favour of the Home Office, which had told Mr Lawrence's widow that Chindamo would be sent back to Italy upon his release.