Notorious Shepherd’s Bush police killer Harry Roberts has been released from prison.

Roberts, now 78, was jailed for life after he shot dead two unarmed plain-clothed policemen in Braybrook Street, Shepherd’s Bush, next to Wormwood Scrubs Prison in August 1966.

His accomplice, John Duddy, fatally shot another officer after the pair opened fire on the policemen who pulled over the criminals’ van following an armed robbery with fellow gang member John Witney and just before they were allegedly about to break a prisoner out.

Roberts was convicted of all three murders and when news of his imminent release emerged last month the policing community and the families of the three officers reacted with anger, with Met Police Federation (MPF) chairman, John Tully, calling it ‘sickening’.

The MPF took legal advice last month to see if it could challenge the decision to release Roberts through a judicial review.

Steven White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Police officers up and down the country will be absolutely furious and disgusted that Harry Roberts has been released.”

(From left) DC David Wombwell and Sergeant Christopher Head were killed by Roberts

The trial judge in 1966 said Roberts should never be freed, but he was released from Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire last night (November 11) and it is thought he will now closely be monitored but is not expected to be given a new identity, the BBC said.

Sergeant Christopher Head, 30 and DC David Wombwell, 25, were shot by Roberts while PC Geoffrey Fox, 41, was killed by Duddy.

Gillian Wombwell, DC Wombwell’s widow, said: “Our sentence is for life and should his be.”

Gillian Wombwell, wife of DC David Wombwell, pictured at home, with children, Melanie, two and Daen, three, in East Acton, 1966.
 

Roberts was on the run for 90 days after the shootings and was given a 30-year minimum sentence but served 48 years in total.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: “We do not comment on individuals.

“The release of life sentence prisoners is directed by the independent Parole Board once they are satisfied they can be safely managed in the community. Once released they are subject to strict controls for as long as their risk requires them. If they fail to comply with these conditions they can be immediately returned to prison.”

PC Geoffrey Fox was killed by John Duddy

Witney and Duddy were both given life sentences but Witney was released on licence in 1991 after nearly 25 years in prison but was found murdered in Bristol eight years later and Duddy also died.