In 1988, Rodney Thomas Clarke was sentenced to life in prison after he broke into the bedroom of a nine-year-old girl and raped and murdered her.
Clarke was just 21 when he committed the brutal crime in 1987 and has remained behind bars ever since. However the convicted child killer was recently approved for day release, sparking outrage which led to the decision being quickly reversed.
Clarke suffocated nine-year-old Debbie Keegan to death after climbing through her bedroom window, in Tregear, Sydney, and raping her three times, while her sister Sarah pretended to be asleep in the next bed.
He was handed a life sentence for the crime and has been imprisoned for a total of 31 years, however 9 News recently revealed that, after having his security classification downgraded, Clarke had been approved for supervised day release.
“Supervised day leave is an important step to ensure offenders have the opportunity to assimilate into the community successfully,” a Correction Services spokesperson told 9News. “Corrective Service NSW accepted a recommendation of the Serious Offenders Review Council to change the inmate’s classification to allow for escorted day leave.”
However, the decision was short-lived as the news raised concerns, with Debbie’s sister Sarah telling 9 News that it made he feel “sick to the stomach” knowing he could be out on day release.
She said: “Knowing that he can be out in the community, even though he is on day release and is being monitored, makes me uncomfortable, and concerned.”
The Commissioner of Corrective Services Peter Severin overturned the decision and confirmed that, following community concerns, “escorted day leave has been suspended for this prisoner, pending review”.
Clarke was denied parole in 2015 and 2017 but is eligible again next year.