Tracy Richardson Not Allowed To Ask Her Mom’s Murderer Where The Body Is Hidden…To Protect HIS Rights

Martin Stafford

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One of the worst things than can happen to a child is for one of their parents to be killed. It must be especially hard for that parent to not only be murdered, but to not even have a body to bury for closure. This is what Tracy Richardson, whose mom was murdered in 2004, is still going through to this day. And, while her mom’s murderer may know perfectly well where the body is, Tracy is barred from asking him, because the courts fear it would infringe on HIS human rights.

Martin Stafford was finally convicted in 2012 of the murder of Michelle Gunson, of Manchester, UK, in 2004 after facing earlier charges in Ireland. He not only murdered Gunson, but also reportedly raped and tortured her. He was finally extradited from Ireland in 2012, and under the terms of extradition, HE has to give authorities consent to ask HIM where Gunson is buried. This apparently pertains to Tracy as well, because the jail where Stafford is being kept has refused to give him any letters written by Tracy, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I didn’t realize that reading a letter from a victim’s child was up there with waterboarding, but I guess you learn something new every day.

According to news reports, the only way Tracy would be able to ask Stafford about the body would be to secure a visitation order and ask him face to face. Who does she have to go through to get a visitation order, you ask? Stafford himself. Because that makes total sense. According to Tracy:

“He should have lost his human rights the second he decided to commit those evil crimes. He’s not a human in my eyes, he’s a monster. All I want is to lay Mum to rest and give her the dignity she deserves. But I have no hope of doing that unless someone gets Stafford to admit where she is.”

Just days after Gunson’s murder, Strafford fled to Ireland, where he had 23 previous convictions, including various sex offenses. In 2005 he was convicted of another rape (classy guy, right?) and in 2007 the DNA from that rape helped to tie him to Gunson’s The police issued a European arrest warrant and he was finally extradited after finishing his seven year rape sentence. But under the terms of that extradition, Stafford can’t be questions at all about the Gunson case. As in nothing whatsoever. So while the DNA still managed to convict him, many of the details of the case remain a mystery.

If this sounds utterly ridiculous to you, then you’re not alone. Many people in the UK, including Tracy, think that the murderer’s rights are coming before the victims and that things need to change. But according to Det. Insp. Astle, of West Midlands CID, everything is on the up and up:

 “Martin Stafford was brought back to the UK on a European Arrest Warrant. We cannot interview extradited individuals unless they request it. Mr Stafford continues to deny involvement in Michelle’s disappearance.”

To be honest, even if Tracy is finally allowed to speak to or write to Stafford, I doubt he will give anything up. Even though the DNA evidence is more than damning, he insists to this day that he had nothing to do with Gunson’s disappearance. So either he is still hopeful that his case will be turned over, or he’s just a heartless bastard. Or both. Probably both. But something about this case just seems wrong. I am all for protecting human rights, even the rights of prisoners (yes, even the rights of convicted killers) but to not even be able to question him? This is wrong.

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  • Uhhhhh no

    Wow. Just…no

  • Mel

    I have a strong feeling this is our own govt’s fault. I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat, but hear me out. Most countries don’t like to extradite to the US because we are will one of the few countries with the death penalty. We’re rightfully viewed as barbaric for this. Felony Murder is a death penalty crime in many states, so this is probably why other countries will only extradite if certain demands are met.

    Obvious this person is evil and disgusting and is NOT the victim here. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that he is still a human, and people in prison still deserve basic rights. Easy for me to say, since I’m not the victim, I know! But I think a society should be judged based on how it treats it’s most vulnerable populations. This includes prisoners. I guess try to think about what you would feel if you or your kid were incarcerated. Of course, I’m a bleeding heart liberal, so it’s easy to sit behind my computer when it’s not my mother who was raped and murdered, so I’m only speaking from a philosophical standpoint.

    • Lackadaisical

      I agree totally. He is scum but that doesn’t give us the right to turn into an angry mob and rip him to shreds to give us a bloody vengeance. Of course prisoners have rights and should be treated as human, no matter how vile they are.

    • J.

      While I can agree with what you are saying he was not extradited to the US it was the UK.

    • Mel

      Thank you for the correction! I guess my general rant is the same, just not applicable to this particular case. Or maybe it is? I know exactly zero facts about UK law.

  • Lackadaisical

    I completely sympathise with the victims family and think it wrong that the police are not allowed to ask questions of convicted criminals. The police should be allowed to investigate properly, and that includes questioning so long as they don’t break the law to do it.

    However I can see why a victim’s family are not allowed to contact their relative’s murderer or attacker. We have police, courts and prisons and families of victims need to not take justice into their own hands even if they were only intending to question or harass. If someone murdered my kid I would be baying for blood, but that would be grief talking and the system needs to protect me from actions I might take when clouded by rage and grief by keeping me away from the culprit. If it happened to someone I loved I would feel differently, but that is the point.

    To be honest I doubt questioning him would help much anyway. He has been convicted, and as a thoroughly nasty piece of work has remained unmoved by the families grief when he kept quiet so far. It isn’t as if we will let him out or give him privileges if he tells where she is and so caring only for himself he has no reason to tell. He may be holding it back for a bargaining chip later when he has served enough time for good behaviour to seem more worthwhile to his sentence or if he wants more notoriaty when the press has forgotten him, or he may enjoy this in his sick and twisted way. I am reminded of myra hindley and ian brady who the police were allowed to question for all the good it did.

  • brebay

    Having it in writing or a recorded phone call would be against his own legal interest, so obviously his lawyer doesn’t wan this, and a judge granted the motion. This is not that unusual or unreasonable in this case. She could ask him face to face in a private meeting, but not where there is a record of it. If he hasn’t given it up by now, he probably won’t. His lawyer did his job and sought the best scenario for her client. This isn’t really anything to get outraged about. There’s nothing stopping him from telling her, he doesn’t have to wait for her to ask. He won’t.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    This makes no sense!
    He brutally took away a woman’s LIFE and it would affect HIS rights?
    His rights should be removed the second her life left her body!

    • Mel

      Um, nope. We don’t strip people of basic human rights just because they committed a crime (or many crimes). That’s what separates us from them. We are better than that. “Eye for an eye” is not a decent way to behave. I don’t want a justice system that acts out of rage or bloodlust.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      how is it bloodlust for this scumbag to open his mouth and bring some peace to this family?

    • Mel

      You said “His rights should be removed the second her life left her body!” That, my friend is bloodlust. Stripping someone of basic human rights is not acceptable. That’s why we don’t let family members of victims serve on juries. If we don’t honor everyone’s basic civil liberties, then we are no better than the criminals we hate.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      in my opinion, bloodlust is the wrong term in this case.
      I respect your opinion but if it were my mother, I honestly do not know what I would do or how I would feel.
      I understand how people can be consumed by terminology but I do believe you relinquish your rights the second you murder someone, in that case, I believe you should be obligated to reveal the body’s location.

    • Mel

      We agree that he should reveal the location. Absolutely. But in doing so, he could create further legal trouble for himself. He has a right not to do that, no matter how infuriating and cruel it is. I guess I’m trying to put myself in both places. The victim’s family deserves answers and some peace. The defendant has a right not to incriminate himself further. In this case, it seems it could possibly be solved by a face-to-face instead of in writing. That’s somewhat of a “compromise.” Even though we respectfully disagree, I stand by my word choice.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      No, I do totally respect your opinion and I am thankful we are grown up enough to agree to disagree!
      I apologise if I came across as being harsh, I kinda got red eye rage when I imagined my tiny mother, whom I am extremely protective of, even though she could kill a man a ten paces with one lash of her tongue lol, the thought of her missing and not even having a body to pay respects to. *shudder*

      I do agree he does have every right to defend himself and I understand what his own family must be thinking too.

      It’s hard to imagine both sides, I can’t even begin to imagine how BOTH families must be feeling.
      So in that regard, I do apologise if it seemed I was snapping or getting into a rage, it was a momentary knee jerk reaction.
      Hopefully, out of the decency of his own heart, he might reveal the location.

    • Mel

      No apology needed! You’re absolutely right that this family is the victim and not this horrible murderer. You weren’t snapping it didn’t seem, it’s a completely logical thing to want to shake the truth out of him!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      yay good!
      didn’t want to come across as a right muppet!

    • Mel

      Well, I don’t know what that means, but if it’s bad – you didn’t do it :) I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of “stroppy bitch”?

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      lol oops that’s the Irish slang comin out now.
      Yeah basically means a bitchy fool, eejit, idiot etc.
      =P note to self *Irish slang doesn’t always translate well online*

    • Mel

      No worries :) I had this moment of panic on my way to lunch that I had accidentally said you WERE being a stroppy bitch. I couldn’t remember what I had typed and raced back here to make sure I didn’t do it wrong! Now I have some cool Irish slang to throw around. Win for me!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      This just made my day haha!!

  • SA

    What this person did was horrible and no sympathy for him at all, I definitely understand why they would not allow the victim to have contact. I would imagine it is healthier for her to not have that contact as well.

    • Cheryl Foldes

      I agree no contact is better for healing.