CONVICTED killer John Cannan has failed in his bid to be released from prison after a hearing before the parole board.

The decision means that 69-year-old Cannan, who was reported to be 'on his deathbed' is likely to now die in prison.

Cannan was convicted in 1989 for the abduction and killing of Shirley Banks, from Bristol, for the rape of a second victim, and for the attempted abduction of Julia Holman. He was sent down for life by Mr Justice Drake who told Cannan: "You should never again be at liberty outside prison walls."

The body of Ms Banks was discovered dumped at 'Dead Woman's Ditch' in the Quantocks near the village of Over Stowey, before a pathologist concluded she had been 'hit several times over the head by a rock.'

The killer also remains the prime suspect in the murder case of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who was declared missing and later dead - in addition to a spate of rapes carried out in the Midlands among other violent and sexual crimes.

The parole board heard representations from Cannan's legal representative, and studied written statements submitted on the prisoner's behalf. In a rare event, they also received written representations from the Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk.

The board concluded that Cannan remained a danger to the public, and that it continued to be necessary that he be confined behind bars.

Cannan first became eligible to appeal to the parole board in November 2022, after serving over 33 years in prison. The September hearing marked his first, and possibly last, bid for freedom.

Despite his advanced age, warnings had been issued about Cannan's ability to continue to pose a threat to women. Speaking in 2006, Detective Superintendent Jim Dickie said: "Cannan will re-offend. He should never be released. If you look at his profile, I have no doubt he will strike again. 

"He has been released from prison before and committed crimes. He is a danger to the female population, particularly the blonde, twenty-something professionals like Suzy. Even if he wasn't released until he was 60 he would go on to abduct, rape and murder women."

Cannan is currently being held in a category A prison, in similar conditions to terrorists and other extreme offenders. As well as the option to release Cannan all together, the parole board also had the opportunity to move him into an 'open prison' which they declined to do.

In a statement the parole board said: "As a result of his maintenance of innocence, Mr Cannan has not completed any accredited programmes to address his offending behaviour.

"After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.

"Nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Cannan should be transferred to an open prison.Mr Cannan will be eligible for another parole review in due course."