Child murderer back behind bars

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A man who killed a 14-year-old girl in Market Deeping more than 20 years ago is back behind bars after committing a burglary less than six months after his release.

Robert France (54), spent more than 20 years in prison after being convicted of murdering teenager Gillian Atkins in 1983. He was freed on licence last April and then burgled a house in Dogsthorpe in Peterborough in October.

France, of no fixed address, was given a five-year term by a judge at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday after admitting burglary. The offence breached the licence conditions of his release.

Prosecutor Craig McDougall told the court that France drilled into the back door of the home, punched a panel out and took computer games and jewellery of sentimental value, after a rough search of the house.

Mr McDougall also said that France had a number of convictions, including 12 for burglary, dating back to when he was a teenager.

Defending, Corrine Ransom said: “He does have a long history of offending regarding burglaries, and of course the very serious conviction he received in 1983.

“He was locked up for many years, which had an enormous effect on his life. He found adjustment very difficult on the outside, and acquired a heroin problem inside.”

France was jailed for life after a jury convicted him of murder in 1983. He had strangled the girl and battered her with a brick.

He was originally released in July 2007, but was recalled in March 2008 for a public order offence, before being released on April 28, 2010.