Probation officer says thug who murdered man should have been in jail

Probation officer says violent criminal who stabbed young father to death after early release from jail SHOULD have been put back behind bars before the killing

  • Timothy Deakin, 21, stabbed Michael Hoolickin, 27, to death in Manchester, 2016 
  • Deakin was on licence having served almost five years for another brutal attack 
  • Inquest into death determined if Deakin should have been in jail before stabbing
  • Probation officer said she believed the threshold for recall had been ‘firmly met’
  • Deakin previously found guilty at trial and given a minimum of 27 years in prison

Probation officer Natalia Atkinson (pictured)  has said the violent criminal Timothy Deakin, 21, who brutally stabbed a young father Michael Hoolickin, 27, to death  should have been behind bars before the killing

A probation officer has said the violent criminal who brutally stabbed a young father to death outside a pub in a frenzied attack should have been behind bars before the killing.

Timothy Deakin, 21, who was on licence from prison having served almost five years for a separate savage attack, knifed Michael Hoolickin five times in October 2016, after the 27-year-old told him off for beating a woman. 

An inquest into Mr Hoolickin’s death was dramatically halted in June last year after the coroner called for an investigation into whether Deakin should have been recalled to prison before the fatal stabbing.

As the inquest resumed today, Deakin’s probation case manager Natalia Atkinson told the court that she believed the threshold for recall had been ‘firmly met’. 

Ms Atkinson described Deakin at one of ’50 high risk offenders’ she was dealing with at the time. 

The violent thug was suspected of carrying weapons, dealing drugs, mixing with a defendant from his previous conviction and had even failed 11 of his 15 drugs tests – testing positive for cocaine and cannabis. 

Yet despite Ms Atkinson claiming to have alerted senior probation officers about increasing concerns over Deakin’s risk of harm, he had not been sent back to prison.

Having been at large for eight months, Deakin stabbed the father-of-one and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.   


Savage attack: Deakin (left), who was on licence from prison having served almost five years for a separate savage attack, murdered Michael Hoolickin in October 2016 after the 27-year-old told him off for beating a woman. Having been at large for eight months, Deakin stabbed the father-of-one (pictured right) and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison

The inquest heard Deakin was let out of prison on February 23, 2016, and was subjected to ten conditions – including that he initially stay at a hostel for newly-released offenders and abide by a curfew.

‘My case load was excessive – I believe the evidence suggests at times it was 170 per cent capacity,’ Ms Atkinson said. 


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‘The number of previous convictions and sanctions on record were indicative of someone who was effectively lawless,’ she told the court.

She described Deakin’s behaviour as ‘feral’ and ‘animalistic’ and said she felt he had enjoyed the ‘reputation’ his original offence had given him among his peer group. 

She admitted she was unaware at the time that Deakin had in fact been testing positive for cocaine, as she was ‘not aware’ where to look for drug results. 

Lawless and feral: Ms Atkinson described Deakin’s behaviour as ‘feral’ and ‘animalistic’ and said she felt he had enjoyed the ‘reputation’ his original offence had given him among his peer group. By June 2016, Deakin had been seen carrying weapons and spending time with his co-defendant from his previous offence

By June 2016, Deakin had been seen carrying weapons and spending time with his co-defendant from his previous offence.

Ms Atkinson said she then decided all options had been ‘exhausted’ and believed he should have been recalled to prison.

‘If it was my job to keep the public safe, then Mr Deakin wasn’t engaging in any of that,’ she said.

The court heard that for recall to be granted, a case manager’s recommendation has to be approved by a senior probation officer, before being signed off by a higher level manager. 

Ms Atkinson said she sent an email to a senior probation officer highlighting the intelligence from police about Deakin carrying weapons in June 2016, but received no reply.

Speaking at the earlier inquest hearing, Michael’s father Garry Hoolickin, a retired footballer with more than 200 appearances for Oldham Athletic, said: ‘As a family we want a definite change. We don’t want this to happen to another family. It’s nearly killed myself and my wife. It’s absolutely disgraceful, I think, what’s going on’

By that time, Deakin had already received a final warning from the probation service, the court heard.

Ms Atkinson said that after receiving no reply, she emailed a duty senior probation officer, David Rhoden, for advice following ongoing pressure from police about Deakin’s case.  

Speaking at the earlier inquest hearing, Michael’s father Garry Hoolickin, a retired footballer with more than 200 appearances for Oldham Athletic, said: ‘As a family we want a definite change.

‘We don’t want this to happen to another family. It’s nearly killed myself and my wife. It’s absolutely disgraceful, I think, what’s going on.’

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