THE family of a Bradford pensioner whose killer is due before the Parole Board say they are "outraged and worried" after a judge in a separate case claimed victim statements do not make any difference.
Mary Robertson was stabbed to death by prostitute Jane Pauline Cawley at the home of her lifelong friend Nora Stannard in Church Street, Manningham, on Boxing Day in 1998.
Mrs Stannard was also stabbed and had her throat slashed, but survived.
Cawley admitted murder and wounding with intent and was jailed for life in November 1999.
She is expected to go before the Parole Board today after Mrs Robertson's daughter-in-law Sandha, of Wibsey, and other family members wrote a personal victim statement to be read out at the hearing.
But, at a separate Parole Board hearing, Geraldine and Peter McGinty, whose son Colin was stabbed to death 13 years ago in Merseyside, claimed to have overheard Judge Graham White make the comments about victims' statements not making a difference in a conversation with lawyers.
The 21-year-old's parents said they were heartbroken to hear the comments made over the video link, after submitting a statement as the killers applied to be transferred to open prisons.
Now Sandha Robertson fears Judge White's view is a general one and victims' statements are disregarded.
She said: "I'm absolutely outraged.
"It's like the families don't count, just the criminals. I'm so mad and frustrated.
"I couldn't believe I was hearing it. It just adds salt in the wounds. How can the family statements be disregarded. What's the point in having the written statements? The system needs reviewing.
"The judge has been caught out but was speaking the truth.
"Somebody has to stand up for us, all of the innocent victims.
"I'm very worried by this. It means we are being cast aside.
"It's not very easy to try to explain your feelings to the Parole Board.
"The victims should be heard. Our views should be counted and should not be pushed to one side."
Judge White said he was sorry for the impact his comments, which he said were made in a "private conversation", had had on Mr McGinty's family, but added that while the statements had an impact, they cannot affect the parole board's judgement of the prisoner's risk.
Parole Board chairman Sir David Calvert-Smith said there would be an investigation into the judge's comments.
And Lady Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner, whose husband Garry was kicked to death in Warrington in 2007 by a gang vandalising his car, said: "It truly saddens me to hear of another family not treated with basic humanity and respect.
"Victims pour their hearts into these statements to make sure they do their loved ones the best possible justice, they should never be dismissed like this."