Brenda Hughes (left) and Denean Worms were killed by Terrence Burlingham in 1984 near Cranbrook. Submitted

Double-killer set for ‘supervised’ release next week in Abbotsford is ‘high risk to reoffend’, victim’s father says

Burlingham killed 20-year-old Denean Worms and 16-year-old Brenda Hughes in 1984 near Cranbrook

A man who killed a 16-year-old girl and 20-year-old woman 35 years ago in Cranbrook will enjoy a taste of freedom in Abbotsford, despite having been deemed a “high risk to reoffend” less than a year ago.

Terrence Burlingham brutally raped and killed Denean Worms, 20, and Brenda Hughes, 16, within the span of three months in 1984. While Burlingham’s original murder conviction for Worms’ death was vacated by the Supreme Court due to police misconduct, he was convicted of Hughes’ murder and has remained in prison since. (He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Worms’ death.)

Last year, the Parole Board rejected his request for an escorted absence from prison, determining that Burlingham remained a “high risk to reoffend,” according to Hughes’ father. The News has not yet been able to obtain a copy of the Parole Board decision.

Family members of both Worms and Hughes say that, although the Parole Board had previously taken a dim view of Burlingham’s rehabilitation prospects, the convicted killer has now been approved for “escorted temporary absences” from Mission Institution, where he has been held.

Ray Hughes says he is both worried that Burlingham might bolt from his supervisors while out in the community, or use good behaviour during the escorted absences to make a play for day parole and then full parole.

“I’m a firm believer of people getting rehabilitated,” Hughes said. “But there’s no hope for him to be be turned around.”

He called Burlingham a “sociopath,” and said he had refused to apologize to the family in the past.

Family members say that Burlingham attacked a case worker, while in prison, several years ago after feeling sexual urges.

“It’s absolutely appalling that this two-time murderer is going to be walking on the streets,” Jim Ramsay, Worms’s uncle, said. “He has not been rehabilitated, which is why he has never been paroled.”

Burlingham sexually assaulted Worms and Hughes, and shot both twice with a shotgun. He was arrested soon after.

The family has been told that Burlingham will be permitted out of jail between the hours of 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, 12, 19 and 26. Burlingham will also receive four escorted leaves in each of October and November.

Ray Hughes said guards will be unarmed and only within eyesight while Burlingham is in the community for “personal development” time.

Ramsay said he is concerned about the possibility that Burlingham could bolt and re-offend.

“Our concern is only about safety and keeping him in jail,” Ramsay said. “I think the people of Abbotsford have a right to know what’s going on.”

The News has placed a call to officials at Mission Institution but not heard back.

RELATED: B.C. man convicted of kidnapping and raping girl, 11, granted unsupervised day trips

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