Two child killers first to receive parole bans

Two child killers have been slapped with parole release bans by Queensland’s independently-run parole board under tough state laws introduced less than a year ago.

Gregory Andrew Brownsey and Alan William Craig have become the first two prisoners deemed by Parole Board Queensland (PBQ) as dangerous and their crimes too heinous for them to be considered for parole, despite having already served lengthy prison terms.

In September 2021 the Queensland Government introduced what it called the “toughest parole laws in the nation” for prisoners serving life sentences for “heinous crimes”.

The legislation, included in the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, was the result of community outrage over an application to PBQ by convicted child killer Barrie Watts for release in November 2020.

His bid for freedom resulted in a petition with more than 70,000 signatures calling on the government to keep Watts behind bars.

Watts, now 68, has spent 35 years in prison for the abduction, rape and murder of 12-year-old Sunshine Coast girl Sian Kingi on 27 November 1987.


The laws, which received royal assent from the Queensland Governor on 3 December 2021, bestow the sole responsibility of deciding whether convicted child killers should receive parole bans of up to 10 years to the PBQ President.

While Barrie Watts was granted a parole hearing prior to the laws being enacted, PBQ Deputy President Peter Shields on 14 October 2021 rejected the request for conditional release into the community.

Mr Shields said: “(PBQ) is not satisfied the risk (Watts) poses to the community can be sufficiently mitigated at this time by way of imposing any conditions that the Board is entitled to impose.

“The Board considers there to be an unacceptable risk to the community if (Watts) is released on a parole order.”

Since the introduction of the new laws, PBQ President Michael Byrne KC has himself signed orders to extend the parole bans on two convicted child killers.

Andrew Brownsey, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a 15-year-old boy in the northern Brisbane suburb of Strathpine in May 1988, became the first person to receive a parole ban of eight years on 7 June 2022.


Last month, Alan Craig, now aged 40, received a five-year ban for the murder of his two-year-old nephew north of Bundaberg in 2006.

In both cases Mr Byrne deemed the pair as posing an unacceptable risk to the public if granted parole.

In making the orders for each man, Mr Byrne said: “I have made this declaration because of the nature, seriousness and circumstances of the offence for which the prisoner was sentenced to life imprisonment; of the risk the prisoner may pose to the public if the prisoner is granted parole; and of the likely effect that the prisoner’s release on parole may have on … a victim.”

Mr Burn specified that the parole ban in Brownsey’s case be extended until 6 June 2030.

With respect to Craig, who made an application for parole on 13 October 2020, Mr Byrne refused the application and extended his parole ban until 5 March 2027.

In announcing the new laws in September 2021, Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said the tough laws were designed to target people convicted of killing children and those who commited multiple murders.


“Those life-sentenced prisoners who have killed a child or committed multiple murders have no right to expect they will get parole. In fact, they may never get parole,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is about targeting those who commit the worst crimes with laws that protect the victims’ families from unnecessary trauma. And under the legislation we are proposing they may never even get to apply for parole.”

Read the PBQ declaration on Gregory Andrew Brownsey.

Read the PBQ declaration Alan William Craig.

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