A killer who brutally murdered a new father in a town centre row has been released from prison – but he is banned from stepping foot in Hemel Hempstead.
Daniel Button, now in his 30s, was freed on Friday after serving more than 11 years of a life sentence for the killing of 24-year-old Darren Cooper.
Darren’s parents, who look after their son’s daughter Chloe, now 13, were told the devastating news by the probation service.
Dad Roy, 64, said: “His life sentence has come to an end whereas ours is still carrying on and will carry on until the day we die.
“I expected him to come out, but I was still gutted.
“If this country thinks that is a life sentence for murdering somebody with a young family I am absolutely disgusted with it.”
Button, from Bayford Close, Hemel Hempstead, admitted killing Darren, who was hit with a large tree branch, stamped on and kicked while he lay helpless on the floor after a row erupted over queue jumping outside KFC in Marlowes back in 2001.
Button’s cousin Bradley Galvin pleaded guilty to manslaughter and has since been released after serving around half of his six year sentence.
Roy told the Gazette this week: “They can get on with their lives.
“I just hope that if he is ever lucky enough to have a family that he looks at that family and realises what he took away from us.”
Roy and wife Viv, 62, moved out of Hemel Hempstead in 2003 to set up a new home in Suffolk in a bid to escape the constant reminders of what had happened to their son.
But they still regularly return to the town, placing flowers at the spot where Darren was beaten to death on the anniversary of his killing and visiting Garston Crematorium every Christmas Day.
Many of their family, including Chloe’s mum. still lives in the town.
Roy said: “Chloe is 13 now and is asking questions. She says: ‘He won’t come and get me if I’m with mummy?’”
Roy has been told by the probation service that although Button, who is on a life-long licence, is not allowed in Hemel Hempstead he can drive past on the M1 or A41 or pass through the town on the train.