A PSYCHOTIC who savagely knifed to death a young student is to walk free this week.
American Curtis Howard served seven years of a life sentence for the stabbing of 24-year-old Catherine Ayling.
He flew halfway around the world to stalk and then kill Miss Ayling, a student of Crewe and Alsager College.
He entered England on a false passport in 1991 after becoming obsessed with her while she was on an exchange visit in Boston.
Her family said they are now fearful Howard will track them down.
Before killing Miss Ayling, Howard broke into the home of her sister Sylvia Hartington to scrawl the words 'Catherine is dead' on her door.
Mrs Hartington, 33, from Sussex, has condemned the decision to release the 33-year-old killer.
She said: 'The family is furious. We certainly don't think the time he has served reflects the severity of the crime.'
Howard was arrested in Boston 24 hours after Miss Ayling's body was discovered in the boot of his hire car at Gatwick Airport.
Coroner Michael Blakeney told at the time how she had tried desperately to fight off her attacker who stabbed her 10 times and slashed her throat.
Miss Ayling, an aspiring teacher, came to know Howard while at college in Boston. His fatal obsession began when she spurned his advances.
He hired private detectives to track her down to Crewe, then stalked her for a week before cutting her throat in the college car park at Alsager.
Howard denied murder but admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.
He was only the third American in history to be extradited for murder after losing a battle to avoid British justice.
When he was jailed in 1994 at Hove Crown Court, Mr Justice Hidden labelled him 'cunning, violent and dangerous'.
Howard is to be freed from HM Prison Whitemoor this week after persuading a parole board he is no longer a threat.
Although he is to be deported, American authorities have no duty to supervise prisoners released on licence from British jails.
A Home Office spokesman said: 'We fully understand the concerns of Miss Ayling's family and extend our sympathies to them.'
* Do you believe Curtis Howard should have been released on parole after just seven years of his life sentence for the murder of Crewe and Alsager College student Catherine Ayling?
You can have your say in our exclusive online poll. The results will be published online and in next week's South Cheshire edition.