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Notorious killer and sex predator Douglas Blastland, has reportedly died in prison from a Covid-19 infection while serving two life sentences for his crimes.
Blastland was jailed in 1977 after four separate sexual attacks on young boys, aged between 11 and 13.
Appearing before Leicester Crown Court he was sentenced to five years behind bars, reports GrimsbyLive, but by 1982 he was free to strike again with tragic consequences. Karl Fletcher was just 12 years old when he was sexually assaulted by Bastland who then strangled him with a football scarf and dumped his body face down in a ditch.
Blastland was given a five-year sentence during proceedings in Leicester where he was convicted of two acts of gross indecency and two of attempted gross indecency. The boys were aged between 11 and 13-years-old.
Blastland was free by July 1980 and just two years later he would again attack a young boy, this time in Gainsborough and with fatal consequences. Karl Fletcher was just 12 years old and had left his home in Gainsborough at around 6pm on December 6, 1982.
He had stormed out of the family home after an argument with his mother and that was the last time they would see the Middlefield School pupil alive. Blastland was by this time 25 and was working as a baker in the town.
During court proceedings, Blastland admitted meeting Karl not far from where he would later be found dead and alleged to have paid him for sexual acts. However, he denied killing the boy who was tragically found face down the next morning on wasteland off Thorndike Way.
A post-mortem of Karl’s body would find that the young boy had been brutally sexually assaulted before he was strangled to death with his own Nottingham Forest football scarf. Blastland was sentenced to two life sentences for murder and sexual assault with a minimum of 22 years which was later increased to 25.
The pain for Karl Fletcher’s family would not end there as Blastland would again enter their lives during multiple bids for freedom, first appealing against his conviction. He would then be allowed to apply for parole in 2005.
Speaking at the time, Karl’s mother Audrey Fletcher said: “Of course, I always knew it would happen one day but I had presumed that we would be told about it and I could have been prepared for it. It doesn’t just affect me and my husband Colin either – the whole family are in shock about it. One of my grandchildren heard it on the radio and she was very upset – and she never even met Karl.
“That should be 50 years and that is just what he deserved. He deserved to stay in prison that long for what he did. I don’t think he should have been given leave to apply for parole at all. The only thing I do feel is that I don’t want him to be free. At the moment all I’m trying to do is hang onto what the judge said about the fact that it was unlikely he would get out.”
Thankfully for the family, none of Blastland’s applications would be successful and after a series of temporary transfers he would be admitted to HMP Full Sutton for the final time on October 5, 2005. While serving his sentence, Blastland was diagnosed with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and depression.
A newly published report from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has revealed that despite being considered high risk during the Covid-19 pandemic he chose not to shield. In July 2021 there was an outbreak of Covid-19 in Blastland’s wing and he tested positive on July 26.
On August 2, Blastland was found to be having difficulty moving and breathing an ambulance was called. A nurse found that Blastland was short of breath, confused, disorientated and his blood oxygen levels were very low at 61 per cent. At hospital he was admitted to intensive care where he was placed on a ventilator and admitted into a medically induced coma. On the morning of August 7 hospital staff began end of life care and withdrew medication and ventilation, his death was confirmed at 12.09pm.
No post-mortem examination was held as the coroner accepted a hospital doctor’s certification that the cause of Mr Blastland’s death was multiple organ failure as a result of Covid-19 pneumonitis. He also had diabetes and high blood pressure which did not cause, but contributed to his death.
The clinical reviewer concluded that Blastland’s clinical care at Full Sutton was of a good standard, equivalent to that he could have expected to receive in the community. She found that his long-term medical conditions were managed in line with national clinical guidance, appropriate care plans were in place and there were regular reviews. She made no recommendations.
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