In a small victory, the man who killed four-year-old Lauren Hickson in Emu Plains almost 30 years ago will remain in prison for at least another three months.
Neville Towner’s parole hearing was adjourned today following massive concerns from the public about his release.
But the fight for Lauren is not over, with his next parole hearing set for September 12.
Towner has served only 28 years of a life sentence for murdering Lauren, but could walk free this year unless the State Parole Authority can be convinced to reverse its decision to grant him parole.
A then 23-year-old family friend of the Hickson family, Towner attempted to rape Lauren, bashed her head with a river stone and then drowned her.
The knowledge that he could walk free has outraged the community, with over 47,000 people signing an online petition pleading for the State Parole Authority to keep him locked up.
That number continues to rise each day as more people give a voice to Lauren.
Lauren’s mother Jurina Hickson recently spoke about her concerns surrounding Towner’s likely release.
“He might be getting a second chance, but he didn’t give Lauren a second chance,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“I’ll never forgive him while I’ve still got breath in my body. The murder was so horrific. He sexually assaulted and tortured her.
“I just can’t understand why a prisoner of his calibre is going to get a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.