More than 1,000 people have backed a family’s bid to keep a child killer behind bars.
Scott Simpson, 9, was abducted from a park near to his city home by Steven Leisk, then 34, in July 1997.
His body was found five days later within the grounds of Aberdeen University. He had been strangled.
Now, Scott’s loved ones have been told Leisk has launched a parole bid – and they have responded with a campaign to keep the “monster” locked up.
With help from her five siblings, Scott’s sister Sarah Watt created two online petitions and a paper version which has so far drawn more than 1,000 signatures.
The mum-of-three is hoping the petition will show the parole board the strength of feeling against Leisk’s release.
Sarah, 39, said: “He murdered my brother in cold blood. Leisk is a manipulative, deceitful monster who needs to stay behind bars.”
Scott, inset, was playing in a park near his Powis Circle home when he was lured to his death by Leisk.
His disappearance sparked a huge manhunt and eventually his body was found hidden in bushes in a lane in Old Aberdeen.
Leisk, who had a string of convictions for sex offences dating back to 1984 and had been jailed three times, had been living in a flat overlooking the park where Scott was last seen alive.
Leisk was jailed for 25 years in November 1997 and that was cut to 20 years in 2002 due to human rights laws.
Sarah added: “He has not been around children for 20 years, so how can we know he will be safe around them?
“If the parole board are so confident he will be safe with kiddies, why don’t they let him be around their own children?”
After the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) wrote to Scott’s family in July, Sarah and her loved ones wrote to the parole board pleading for Leisk to be refused parole.
“Scott’s murder is always in the front of our minds, but having to write that letter opened old wounds for all our family,” said Sarah.
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A parole board spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”
If the parole was approved, Leask would initially be allowed to leave jail on the first occasion under a day release scheme for training, employment or education. He would be told he would need to travel on a specific route to get to the building.
An SPS spokesman added: “The aim of day release is to allow SPS to conduct a risk assessment process so, when a decision is made on a release, the parole board knows how they have been in the community.”
Visit tinyurl.com/leiskpetition to see the petition.
The crime that shocked a whole city
Steven Leisk’s shocking crime horrified the city in the summer of 1997.
His abduction and murder of a nine-year-old boy made him one of the most reviled killers in the country.
What was perhaps most shocking was the fact that the dishevelled, bearded Leisk was already a convicted paedophile when he lured Scott away from a park near the youngster’s home in Powis – and he had been allowed to live a stone’s throw from a playground.
Scott disappeared on Thursday July 17 after playing football a few hundred yards from Leisk’s Bedford Road home.
By the time a search was mounted after Scott failed to return home at 10pm, the boy was already dead.
But it was not until five days later that his body was found hidden in bushes at Aberdeen University.
Leisk was then shopped by a suspicious relative who knew of his past and contacted police.
Barely hours later he was in custody.