United Kingdom

Woman who was abducted at 17 tells of her terror after being told attacker may be freed 


‘This monster should never come out’: Woman who was abducted at 17 by killer given THREE life sentences tells of her terror after being told he could soon be freed

  • Debbie Vangerko was 17 when she was held at knifepoint for 11 hours by stranger
  • Hours earlier Nicholas Burton had stabbed to death 27-year-old Rachel McGrath
  • Probation officials have now told Ms Vangerko he is being prepared for release 

A woman kidnapped by a drug addict hours after he murdered a judge’s daughter has told of her fear that the ‘monster’ could soon be freed.

Debbie Vangerko was 17 when she was held at knifepoint for 11 hours by stranger Nicholas Burton in 1997.

Hours earlier the ‘highly dangerous’ drug user had stabbed to death Rachel McGrath, 27, the daughter of a district judge, in a random attack while she waited in a pub car park in Bramhall, Cheshire, to pick up her boyfriend.

Miss Vangerko, who was snatched off a street nearby, only survived when they stopped for petrol in Caernarfon, North Wales, and she managed to escape. 

Debbie Vangerko was 17 when she was held at knifepoint for 11 hours by stranger Nicholas Burton in 1997

Burton, now 51, later admitted he had planned to rape and murder Miss Vangerko and find a third victim.

Probation officials have now told her that Burton is being prepared for release. 

In April 1998, Burton was found guilty of Miss McGrath¿s murder, plus the kidnap, false imprisonment and threat to kill Miss Vangerko, and handed three life sentences

In April 1998, Burton was found guilty of Miss McGrath’s murder, plus the kidnap, false imprisonment and threat to kill Miss Vangerko, and handed three life sentences

Interviewed for the first time since her ordeal, Miss Vangerko, now 43, criticised the Parole Board – currently the subject of a review by the Government – as ‘not fit for purpose’. She said it was time the rights of victims took precedence over those of criminals.

In April 1998, Burton was found guilty of Miss McGrath’s murder, plus the kidnap, false imprisonment and threat to kill Miss Vangerko, and handed three life sentences.

Mr Justice Morland described him as ‘a highly dangerous man who will endanger the lives of women indefinitely’ and said that he would recommend ‘no Home Secretary is ever likely to allow your release’.

Rachel McGrath, 27, who was stabbed to death by Nicholas Burton while she waited in a pub car park in Bramhall, Cheshire, to pick up her boyfriend

Rachel McGrath, 27, who was stabbed to death by Nicholas Burton while she waited in a pub car park in Bramhall, Cheshire, to pick up her boyfriend

Despite this, and without the knowledge of either Miss Vangerko or Miss McGrath’s family, a minimum jail term of 25 years was later set which, with time served before his trial, expired earlier this year.

‘I am scared,’ a tearful Miss Vangerko said. ‘I thought he was never going to come out.

‘There is no deterrent. These monsters should not be allowed out. They are put away, but then let out in a few years. There’s no real justice. Leave him to rot and this country will be a safer place.’

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