THE mother of a pregnant woman killed in one of the most horrific crimes ever perpetrated in the North-East last night angrily attacked a decision to cut the murderers' sentences.

Sylvia Jobson said that the teenagers who murdered her daughter, Lesley Fox, were so evil they could not change.

Mrs Jobson, a 65-year-old retired care worker, spoke out after the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, yesterday reduced the time they must spend behind bars.

Lesley, 29, was four months pregnant when she was strangled and killed for sexual kicks in October 1996 at her home in Pierremont Crescent, Darlington.

Her body was further abused as part of what was described as a sexual fantasy acted out by her killers.

Timothy Dunn, then aged 15, of Derwent Place, Newton Aycliffe, and Norman Bowen-Jones, aged 17 at the time, of Ladybower, also Newton Aycliffe, were convicted a year later of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Speaking at her home in Darlington, Sylvia Jobson said: "They are sick and they will do it again. They were not children when they did this - they were grown teenagers. They knew what they were doing and they enjoyed it.

"They did not just rob me of a daughter but also a grandson. My grandson was deprived of a life, my daughter had hers ended at just 29.

"They will be out walking the streets at that age with their whole lives ahead of them.

"This judge is totally out of touch with the real world. I wonder if he would feel the same if it was his daughter."

Mr Justice Douglas-Brown, who sentenced the pair at Teesside Crown Court in 1997, recommended they should serve a tariff of at least 13 years before being considered for parole.

But yesterday Lord Woolf, sitting at the High Court in London, reduced the tariff to 12 years for Bowen-Jones and 11 years for Dunn to reflect, he said, their exemplary behaviour in custody.

The move means that the pair, who had a homosexual relationship, could be free in as little as six years' time.

In both cases, the judge said he had taken into account the views of Lesley's "traumatised and emotionally scarred" family that Lesley's killers should serve as long as possible behind bars.

Although Bowen-Jones, now 23, still protests his innocence, Dunn, 20, now accepts full responsibility for the crime and has discovered creative talents in prison.

Lord Woolf said Dunn felt custody was "the best thing that's ever happened to him". Dunn had taught himself to play the guitar, is studying AS levels and had recorded a music CD for charity.

He said Dunn had endured a troubled childhood, and "accepts full responsibility for the offence".

Bowen-Jones, too, had behaved well in custody despite his refusal to accept his guilt, said Lord Woolf.

His behaviour had been described as "mature and positive, even exemplary".

But a report written by an independent police advisor in 1997 and read out in court yesterday, described Bowen-Jones as "cold, calculating and ruthless". The expert expressed his "serious belief" that the older murderer may kill again if released.

Last night, Ms Jobson said: "I have to live with this horror every day - they did not give it a second thought.

"I still can't believe she is gone. Anyone can say that they have changed, but when your mind is as evil as theirs you do not change."

Superintendent John Blake, who helped lead the investigation said: "It was a cold-blooded murder of a vulnerable young woman. The circumstances of her death shook seasoned detectives."