Family's fury as killer of pregnant Bristol mother to be let out for walks
A man who brutally murdered a pregnant Bristol mother 13 years ago is to be allowed out into the community – seven years before being eligible for parole.
George McIvor was jailed for life for the murder of 19-year-old Amanda Tanner and her unborn child in 1997. She was stabbed 47 times by the drug addict, who she disturbed while he was looking for cash in her Barton Hill maisonette. Her other child was upstairs in his cot at the time.
A judge ruled that McIvor serve a minimum of 19 years behind bars after he was found guilty, meaning he should not be released until 2016 at the earliest. But now Amanda's family have learned he will be allowed out into the community for short periods in preparation for a parole application.
They were told he would be allowed out of prison in a letter from the Probation Service.
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Amanda's sister Zoe Tanner, 31, a mother-of-three who lives in Hengrove, said the murder of Amanda on January 28, 1997, was still affecting the whole family 13 years on.
She said: "My world fell apart when Amanda died. I was pregnant myself at the time. I had my little girl on August 18, the day after Amanda's son was due. I named her Amanda Jane after her.
"I think of her every day. When I am out with my girls I think she should be with us with her children. That's never going to happen.
"One of the biggest days of my life was my wedding last year, but Amanda was not there."
Amanda's brother Clayton, 28, was at Bristol Grammar School when his sister was killed.
Now a father-of-two, he said her death had a profound effect on his life too. He said: "I had months off school. I never took my exams and have no qualifications."
Amanda's son Taylor, now 14, has had to grow up without his mother.
Zoe added: "We all thought of him on Mother's Day. Where's he got to go to visit but a headstone? He is a lovely boy. He has turned out really well."
Taylor, who was one at the time, was in his cot in the maisonette in Phoenix House, Barton Hill, when his mum was murdered. She was three months pregnant with her second child.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Smedley told McIvor: "You have been found guilty by this jury of what was on any account a vicious and deliberate stabbing.
"There is only one sentence I can pass and that is one of imprisonment for life."
It was not clear which prison McIvor is being held in and the Prison Service refused to discuss his case. Officials from the Probation Service would not talk about McIvor's release into the community, although it is understood he will be supervised to begin with, leading up to being allowed to work in the community.
Close to tears at times, Zoe told the Evening Post: "After the court case we thought 'thank God it's over'. Now we are being told he's going out for walks.
"He is a monster. We knew that one day he was going to come up for parole but to be allowed out in the community so soon is just wrong."
Clayton said: "Our parents have contacted the Probation Service to say that they don't want it to happen but it sounds like they have made up their minds. He should never come out of prison.
"And to be told in a letter. They should have had the decency to send someone to see us.
"McIvor is a violent man. He used to carry a knife and get it out to show people."
David Wrottesley, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said: "We do not comment on individual prisoners. Prisoners may be released on temporary license providing they meet strict criteria and pass a rigorous risk assessment.
"Release on temporary licence is used to prepare prisoners for their eventual release from custody. It helps to reduce the chance or re-offending by setting up appropriate employment and rehabilitation work in the community, and maintaining family contact.
"This is essential for successful resettlement and an important factor in protecting the public."
Flashback to January 28, 1997
Slightly-built Amanda Tanner put up a fierce fight, scratching her killer’s face and losing two of her nails in the process.
McIvor, then aged 32, stabbed her 47 times, beat her and strangled her.
Heroin dealer McIvor, who lived in the block of flats, was a friend of her partner Gary Gould. McIvor was arrested three days later.
Her body was discovered by Mr Gould, now 38, the next day. He heard their 12-month-old son Taylor crying in the upstairs bedroom of the two-storey maisonette.
McIvor denied the murder at Bristol Crown Court but the evidence against him included traces of his blood found under one of his victim’s fingernails.
Forensic experts matched the blood and other marks on a coffee table in the flat using DNA samples.
A three-inch knife, which McIvor claimed had been stolen, was found in the Feeder Canal by underwater police search teams, with traces of Amanda’s blood still on it.