Serial Greater Manchester rapist who was given 13 life sentences makes new bid for freedom

Convicted serial rapist Andrew Barlow, formerly Andrew Longmire.
-Credit: (Image: MEN Media)

A serial rapist who was given 13 life sentences for his crimes is making a new bid for freedom. Andrew Barlow, formerly known as Andrew Longmire, was released last year after 34 years in jail but was recalled to prison just six weeks later.

Now aged 67, the Bolton predator was taken to a Probation Service hostel by a police escort on March 6 last year after his release. But he was returned to prison for breach of his licence conditions and due to his behaviour. At the time it was assessed that the risk he poses was not manageable in the community.

Barlow has now appealed against his recall to prison and a decision on whether he should be released again will be announced next week. But the prospect of his coming out again has angered victims and their families who campaigned to keep him behind bars with the help of veteran Manchester MP, Graham Stringer.

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The relative of one of his victims told the Manchester Evening News: "Last Wednesday a parole hearing took place in regards to his recall last year after being out in the community for just six weeks after he broke some of the 32 license conditions he was given. He is an unsafe rapist who hasn’t changed in my eyes."

A spokesman for the Parole Board said: "An appeal against his recall to prison was held on June 19th and a decision will be announced by Wednesday next week."

As previously reported in the Manchester Evening News, Barlow's release was delayed after the then Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, asked the Parole Board to reconsider its decision.

Mr Raab described Barlow's offences as "despicable" and said in January 2023:“My thoughts remain with the victims of Andrew Barlow, whose despicable crimes blighted the lives of dozens of women. Public protection is my number one priority, which is why I’ve asked the Parole Board to reconsider their decision to release and I am overhauling the parole system to keep prisoners who pose a risk to the public off our streets.”

After Barlow's rapid return to prison In April 2023, Mr Stringer said: "It is extraordinary. I think this is another failure of the Parole Board to use common sense and protect the public from a very dangerous man. They were warned by me and the victims. This is institutional failure of the highest order."

Andrew Barlow, formerly Andrew Barlow, pictured at the time of his arrest.
Andrew Barlow pictured at the time of his arrest. -Credit:MEN Media

A relative of a woman Barlow raped in her own home in Greater Manchester in 1987 said in May last year, after the Manchester Evening News broke the news of his recall to prison:"I took it on the chin in January and decided to get on with my life when Barlow was released - now this animal is back in our lives again. We told the authorities and they didn't listen.

"Someone has to be accountable for this. It will mean all the victims and their families are reliving the agony again like we had to in January when we tried in vain to stop his release. We told the authorities he was too high a risk and we have been proven right.

"I will like to sit down with someone from the Parole Board face to face and tell them what happened to our family because of Barlow - not submit an email like I had to in January."

The daughter of a woman whose mother was raped in Greater Manchester by Barlow in the early 1980s said: "I was shocked when I heard that he was being recalled so soon. But then when I thought about how evil and twisted he was when committing his crimes it doesn't surprise me.

"When the victim support officer told me I had goosebumps all over my body and then my eyes swelled up with tears, I was thinking who has he attacked this time? The officer told me that he had not hurt anyone but that his behaviour had meant an immediate recall to prison. I am just pleased he has been monitored so closely as his behaviour whatever it was could have escalated."

Barlow was given 11 life sentences in 1988 for raping 11 women and an additional 56 years for other offences. In 2010, and then again in 2017, he received two more life sentences after rapes he committed in 1981 and 1982 which were linked to him through advances in DNA technology. As he had already surpassed his original 20-year tariff imposed in 1988 just another two years were added to his sentence in each case.

Andrew Barlow, formerly Andrew Longmire, was dubbed "The Coronation Street Rapist" as he preyed mainly on woman alone in terraced housing and struck early in the morning.
Andrew Barlow, formerly Andrew Longmire, was dubbed "The Coronation Street Rapist" as he preyed mainly on woman alone in terraced housing and struck early in the morning. -Credit:MEN Media

He was dubbed 'The Coronation Street rapist' as most of the victims were attacked in their own terraced homes in the north of England - the majority living in Greater Manchester. Two of the attacks took place in the street. He also struck in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, and South Yorkshire in the early 1980s, and then again from August 1987 until January 1988 when he was arrested.

Barlow is barred from Greater Manchester and in its summary of the decision to release him, the Parole Board said he would be subject to licence conditions, which must be strictly adhered to.

Under the licence conditions, he would have to comply with requirements to reside at a designated address, to be of good behaviour, to disclose developing relationships, and to report as required for supervision or other appointments. In addition, he must submit to an enhanced form of supervision or monitoring including drug testing, signing-in times, GPS trail monitoring, polygraph testing and a specified curfew.

Barlow had to comply with other identified limitations concerning contacts, activities, residency and an exclusion zone to avoid contact with victims. He also had to meet specified restrictions relating to the use of electronic technology and continue to work on addressing defined areas of risk in the community.

Last year after Barlow's recall a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Protecting the public is our number one priority. That’s why offenders are subject to tough licence conditions and when they breach them, we do not hesitate to return them to custody.”

In a statement, the MOJ added: "Andrew Longmire is being returned to custody today following a breach of his licence conditions. His re-release will be a matter for the Parole Board. He has not been charged with any offences.

"Our Victims and Prisoners Bill includes plans to reform the parole process, including giving Ministers a power to veto the release of the most dangerous offenders, including murderers, rapists and terrorists."