'Ryan would be almost 30 now. Don't set that monster free'

-Credit: (Image: UGC/FAMILY/MEN)
-Credit: (Image: UGC/FAMILY/MEN)

Chloe Pickup remembers with a smile - and a huge sense of sadness - the warm hugs she loved to get from her older brother.

She would visit her grandparents on weekends and holidays and Ryan would always be there, waiting with excitement behind the windows for her to arrive. They would play in a ball pit together and with Ryan's blow-up toy alien.

But one weekend, when Chloe paid her usual visit to Gorton, he wasn't there. It was the same the following weekend.

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Chloe - who was just five years old when her brother Ryan Mason was murdered aged seven 22 years ago - admits she was too young to understand what had happened at the time, but has always cherished the memories they made together.

Now, Chloe says the family are dreading the time his killer's release from prison will be considered, saying they fear the 'ball is rolling' on his parole process. She's spoken out to demand 'child killing monster' Ronald Mariner is kept behind bars.

Evil Mariner - who had a history of violence against youngsters - was jailed for life in October 2002 for schoolboy Ryan's sadistic murder.

Aged 23 at the time, he stabbed Ryan five times before choking him and battering him with a hammer. He then wrapped Ryan's body up in bin bags and, using a wheelie bin, left him in a ditch on a golf course. The youngster was described by his family as shy and cheerful - a boy who told his friends in the school playground not to harm bugs because they were God's creatures.

Ryan was seven when he was tragically murdered -Credit:GMP/Family
Ryan was seven when he was tragically murdered -Credit:GMP/Family

Mariner denied the murder charge he faced, blaming Ryan's mum in court, but a jury at Manchester Crown Court took just 90 minutes to convict him, and he was later ordered to serve 25 years behind bars before he can be considered for release, although any parole board hearing would have to determine whether he still poses a risk.

The minimum term means his tariff runs out in 2027, but guidelines state prisoners serving life sentences can be contacted about parole three years before their earliest release date. He's now 45.

The M.E.N. contacted the Parole Board and were told Mariner currently hasn't been referred for a review.

Speaking exclusively to the Manchester Evening News, Ryan's sister Chloe said Mariner 'deserves to stay where he is' so he can't cause the hurt and pain her family has endured again.

She's now a 27 year-old mum of two boys, with a daughter on the way, and revealed she named one of her sons Ryan in memory of her brother, who she said would now be coming up to his 30th birthday.

Chloe, from Salford, said: "I remember what I was told at the time by my dad and my nana and grandad. Sadly, my nana and grandad are not here anymore.

Chloe is now 27 -Credit:UGC/FAMILY/MEN
Chloe is now 27 -Credit:UGC/FAMILY/MEN

"The last update we had was about three years ago. Apparently Mariner has still not confessed - my nana was sent some stuff from the prison saying that, but that's the last we heard. We think that his parole date is coming up. I know it is 2027, but we have heard that they are getting the ball rolling at the moment."

Chloe says the family regularly honour Ryan's memory. "At Christmas, we go to Manchester Cathedral for a special memorial," she said. "Mariner shouldn't be released. He should not be allowed near any children whatsoever or vulnerable adults."

Ryan, who lived apart from Chloe, was murdered at his home on Hawker Avenue in Great Lever, Bolton, in February 2002. Jobless Mariner, from the nearby Johnson Fold estate in Bolton, was in a relationship at the time with the youngster's mum.

She told the court Ryan woke up in the early hours of Monday, February 11, and asked to go downstairs to play computer games with Mariner, who was staying the night. When she got up, there was a note saying Mariner had taken the boy out.

Ryan was described as shy and cheerful -Credit:GMP/Family
Ryan was described as shy and cheerful -Credit:GMP/Family

Ryan's body was found wrapped in a bin bag at Farnworth Golf Course in Bolton two days later. A massive police search had been mounted the day before when he was reported as missing. After the jury reached its verdict of guilty, jurors were told Mariner had attacked a three week-old baby in 1998 and, when he was 14, kidnapped and tortured an 11 year-old boy.

Sentencing Mariner, trial judge Mr Justice Sachs said: "You destroyed with great brutality the life of a young child. That in itself makes you a very, very dangerous young man. Your previous convictions put you in a category where society should be protected from you for a very long time. You have not displayed a glimmer of remorse or regret."

Mariner had denied killing Ryan, telling the court his mother had stabbed him with a knife after Ryan knocked over a glass of cider. The jury saw through his lies.

Chloe recalled the days of playing with her brother as youngsters. "I remember going to my nana and grandad's house on weekends and holidays. Ryan would always ask if I was coming," she said.

"I remember him waiting for me at the window and when he saw me, he would run to the front door and give me a big hug with his warm arms, asking me to come and play in the ball pit with him. Sometimes we would play with his big blow-up alien, which I was scared of but I enjoyed playing with it with him.

Mariner was 23 when he was jailed -Credit:GMP
Mariner was 23 when he was jailed -Credit:GMP

"There was one weekend he wasn't there and all I wanted to know was where he was. Then the next weekend came and he wasn't there. I could sense something was wrong, but I was too young to understand. It has been so hard as a family. It's coming up to Ryan's 30th birthday now and it's hard knowing he is missing out on seeing the family grow.

"He would have another brother and nieces and nephews now, which he would have been amazing with like he was with me.

"My thoughts on Mariner are that he is a child killing monster who shouldn't be allowed out of prison to harm another innocent little child. Life should be for life is what I always say.

"He deserves to stay where he is - then children and vulnerable adults will be safe from him so he can't put another family through what my family and I went through.

"I will do anything in my power to keep Mariner off the streets and keep my Ryan's memory alive. That's what my nanna and grandad would have wanted."

Chloe's younger sister, Hollie, 23, from Salford, echoed her sentiments. She said: "Although I have limited memory of Ryan, I saw and lived through the impact that his death had on my family's lives for years and still does. I remember the pain my grandparents lived with until their deaths - they never ever accepted it.

"Under no circumstances should it be agreed that Mariner is safe to be released to the general public. He is the definition of a monster and a coward - he couldn't even admit what he did despite the DNA evidence against him.

"Prison doesn't rehabilitate people like him. Life should be life. Who gave him the audacity to snatch innocence out of this world? Forgiveness isn't an option. He deserves to rot painfully."