A KILLER who strangled a girl in the US is now in Britain after parole chiefs ruled he could be freed only if he was deported.
London-born Dempsey Hawkins, 57, spent 38 years in jail after murdering the teenager when he lived in New York.
His supporters included the British Consulate and a Cambridge University criminologist. But his victim’s family blasted the move.
Victim’s sister told of her fears that the killer will strike again.
Parole chiefs in New York ruled Dempsey Hawkins was not fit to be released there but could be let out on condition he was deported to the UK.
When he was 16 he strangled his 14-year-old girlfriend Susan Jacobson with a shirt and stuffed her body in an oil drum.
He then pretended to help searchers look for her while keeping them from finding her.
London-born Hawkins, who was taken to America when he was six, arrived at Heathrow in January with letters of support from the British Consulate.
Immigration officials handed him a British passport and backers welcomed him with him a copy of Tennis Whites and Teacakes, a collection of poet John Betjeman’s writings.
Cambridge University criminology research associate Dr Ruth Armstrong supported his release and he now works as a server in a Mexican restaurant run by her husband in the city.
But Susan’s sister Barbara Reno told The Sun: “I think he’s very capable of killing again.
“I pray that I’m wrong, that he’s changed and that will make something positive with his life because my sister never got the chance to lead hers. But I’m very fearful that he’ll commit another crime.
“He has a bad soul. He has lied and manipulated from day one. While he was in prison he spun a ‘woe is me’ sob story, as if it was some kind of love story and he was heartbroken.
“He was a very convincing liar. He had us all fooled for so long.
“We’re concerned about the safety of the people in the community he’s been released into.”
Family friend and retired NYPD cop Mark Corrao added: “This man has been dumped on you people. The family feel powerless. Everyone in the UK should be alerted and know what happened.”
Hawkins, now 57, was Susan’s first boyfriend. But their relationship hit the rocks when Susan, then 13, had an abortion.
On May 15 1976 Hawkins lured her to an underground bunker, killed her and hid the body in a 55-gallon oil barrel.
He diverted investigators away from the scene while pretending to help Susan’s parents and six siblings search for her.
He then fled Staten Island to live with his US Air Force dad in Illinois but was hauled back for trial in February 1979 after her body was finally discovered.
Hawkins was jailed for life with a minimum of 22 years for second degree murder.
Interviewed in his cell in 2011 he said: “It was a warm day. I had taken off my shirt. With the arm of the shirt, I put it around her neck, as if to kiss her, and I just started squeezing it.”
A panel at Woodbourne Correctional Facility denied him parole nine times after he became eligible in 2000.
They ruled his release would be “incompatible with the welfare and safety of the community”.
But his fortunes changed when lawyer Issa Kohler-Hausmann, an associate Professor of Law at Yale, took up his case.
She contacted Dr Ruth Armstrong, who has a special interest in the rehabilitation of criminals.
Dr Armstrong arranged for him to meet with workers from Prisoners Abroad, which provides support for convicts deported to Britain.
Last May Hawkins won an appeal court ruling for a new parole hearing. In August he was denied freedom in the US for a tenth time — but the panel said he could be conditionally paroled if he was deported to Britain.
It cited recent good conduct, positive letters from the British Consulate General and support from human rights group Reprieve.
But it also set out why he would not be fit for release in the US.
It said there were “disturbing inconsistencies” in details he had given about the killing.
It added: “In short, you still seem capable of deception regarding criminal thoughts and behaviour.
“Your actions exhibit a cruel deliberation and contempt that prompt us to find that your release in the United States would deprecate the seriousness of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.”
Dempsey said: “I’m in a dream state right now. My job is going to be to find a better job. Something to do with writing.”
And he told a male reporter: “If it’s alright with you I would rather not speak about it. I appreciate your questions but I really don’t have anything to say.
“I appreciate you stopping by, it’s always good to see good looking people around here, but I’ve got things to do and really don’t have anything to say.”
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and Department of Justice declined to comment on the case.
Ms Kohler-Hausmann, Dr Armstrong and Prisoner’s Abroad all did not respond to requests for comment by The Sun.
But Tory MP Peter Bone told us: “I entirely sympathise with the family of the victim whose view is that he should never be released.”