Northumberland mum's fight to keep daughter's 'dangerous' killer off streets for sake of other women

Doreen Soulsby's daughter Joanne Tulip was murdered by Steven Ling
-Credit: (Image: Chroniclelive)


Women will be at risk if sadistic killer Stephen Ling is moved to an open prison.

That's the view of the the mum of Joanne Tulip who was brutally raped and murdered by the monster. Ling subjected Joanne to a horrific attack at his home in Stamfordham, Northumberland on Christmas Day 1997. He stabbed the 29-year-old 60 times before carving images including swastikas and crosses into her body.

Ling, who was 23 at the time of the killing, was jailed for life after being convicted of Joanne's murder. The killer also admitted raping Joanne but that offence was allowed to lie on file by the trial judge because the murder was the more serious charge.

Next week a Parole Board hearing will be held where Ling could secure a move to a low security 'open' prison, a change that could see him let out on day release. A previous recommendation by the board to move the killer into open conditions was blocked by then Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.

And today Joanne's mum, Doreen Soulsby has told of her fear that Ling could strike again should he be transferred to a lower security jail.

Doreen Soulsby
Doreen Soulsby -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

She said: "It's too dangerous. I just dread to think what he might do, even on day release."

The sadistic nature of Ling's attack on Joanne makes him particularly dangerous, Doreen believes. And she fears the time he has spent behind bars could have made him worse.

"He's only 49, he's spent all his young adult life cooped up in prison," she said. "It's too big a risk to put him in an open prison. What are they thinking? Are they testing him?"

Joanne Tulip, who was 29 when she was killed by Stephen Ling -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle
Joanne Tulip, who was 29 when she was killed by Stephen Ling -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

And Doreen wants to make anyone who may not be know about Joanne's death, or has forgotten over time, aware of just how evil a killer the Parole Board is making a decision about.

"I can't let it go," she said. "I need to a make people aware of what's coming up."

This will be Ling's fifth parole hearing, but Doreen has vowed to never give up her fight to make sure he stays locked up where he belongs.

"It's like you are on a roundabout, it's non-stop," she said. "It's a nightmare of trying to make it safe for women and girls on the streets by keeping him inside.

"People do forget, but if people read this again they will think, how can you let someone like that out."

Ling's parole hearing will be held in public. The killer previously attempted to have it heard behind close doors arguing he would feel "inhibited", however his request was denied.