A murderer who battered his wife to death is to be freed from jail – but will be banned from returning to Bristol on his release.
Clifford Johnson has been given parole after serving 14 years of a life sentence for killing his wife Patricia with a car steering wheel lock at their home in Tredegar Road, Fishponds.
The case became known as the Krooklok murder, because of the weapon Johnson used.After several previous failed attempts to secure his freedom, Johnson will be released from Leyhill Open Prison, near Thornbury, in the next few weeks. But under the terms of his licence he will not be allowed to enter Bristol’s boundaries, as his victim’s family still live in the city.
Following a parole hearing last month, Mrs Johnson’s family had been bracing themselves for the worst and have now been informed that the man who shattered their lives will walk free. Mr Johnson’s stepdaughter, Carole Douglas, said she was told the board’s decision by a victim liaison officer. She said: “I was really disappointed, a bit bewildered and in shock really. Like anyone knows who has been in our predicament, it may be 14 years to the public but to us it still feels like it happened yesterday.
“At the end of that time we don’t get our mum back. There’s never going to be the right amount of time for a murder. “He will be out living his life, but our mum won’t be.” The 44-year-old social worker, who lives in St George, added: “Everyone in the family has the same sort of feelings at the moment – different levels of anger, or disbelief that leads to anger. It’s an awful thing to have to live with.” The murder shook Fishponds, Easton and St Paul’s, where Mrs Johnson was a popular care worker and member of the gospel worship community.
Johnson attacked his 52-year-old estranged wife in the early hours of November 20, 1995, eight days before the couple were due to be divorced. After hitting her on the head and shoulders 40 times, he left her for dead and took a shower. Upon returning downstairs, he discovered his wife was not dead and continued to bludgeon her to death. The following day he visited his solicitor and confessed his crime, for which he was found guilty and sentenced to life. Johnson’s 11-year minimum term of imprisonment came to an end three years ago and he applied for parole several times before his successful hearing.
As well as Miss Douglas, Mrs Johnson’s sons Winston and Rayan both still live in Bristol, and she would also have a granddaughter if she was alive today. Miss Douglas added: “The parole board have taken into account what I said at the parole hearing and the exclusion zone that he was trying to change has not been altered. “He’s still not allowed in Bristol at all. I still live here and so do my brothers. “I’m grateful for that but it’s hard to tell what the boundaries are and enforce them.
“I would much prefer to be campaigning to help people who have got problems with violence than campaigning to stop murderers being released from prison.” “It would be much better to be able to stop the violence before it’s too late.” When asked how she would feel about bumping into him one day, she replied: “It’s not a fear, I just wouldn’t want to see him. “I had wanted to sit down with him, look him in the eye and ask him questions about what he did. “I thought I would get that chance at the parole hearing, but he chose not to come in when I was speaking, then when I left they brought him in.
“But I don’t want to do that anymore.”
A spokesman for the Parole Board said due to the Data Protection Act, he could not confirm whether Johnson had been given parole.