MARK Newall, jailed for helping his brother cover up the murder of their Scots parents on Jersey, has been released from prison, sparking off protests about the shortness of the time he spent behind bars.

He is now free to enjoy the fortune he inherited from his parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Newall, who were bludgeoned to death by his brother, Roderick, before both brothers buried them in a shallow grave.

The deaths of the retired teachers remained a mystery to the Jersey police as originally all they had to go on was the unexplained disappearance of the couple and a few tiny spots of blood in their empty bungalow. Six years later, Roderick was trapped after he confessed to his uncle Stephen, who had agreed to the conversation being taped by police, when they met for dinner in Dunkeld House Hotel in Perthshire.

Brother Mark was originally charged with murder but it was dropped, and he pled guilty to helping his brother bury the bodies and to concealing evidence. He was sentenced to six years but it has now emerged that he was released earlier this month, just 20 months after he was sentenced.

He has probably returned to Paris, where he was working in financial services. Despite attempts to block the will by relatives, Newall was left about half of the estimated #900,000 estate of his dead parents, and it is assumed that he invested it wisely while in prison.

His father, a retired teacher who was originally from Glasgow, was an astute investor, which was why he and his wife, originally from Motherwell, were able to afford a house in Jersey, another in Spain, and a substantial yacht.

Former Detective Inspector Graham Nimmo, who worked on the inquiry for two years before retiring in 1990 from the States of Jersey Police CID, yesterday criticised the early release decision.

``That boy, along with his brother, cost this island and the authorities a tremendous amount of money,'' he said.

``The investigation took longer than the time he has served. It was a very difficult, long, and protracted inquiry. There were many, many arduous hours spent on it by myself and many others.

``It was largely down to him, all those lies he told, lie after lie, that the investigation was dragged out like that. That's what annoys me.''

He added: ``It's a bit galling that he's out and can do what he likes. I was expecting him to serve longer for what he did, considering the expense of the case and the unhappiness he caused within his own family.

``I would have liked to see him serve at least four to four-and-a-half years.''

There was swift political reaction also. Sentencing policy is hotly debated just now, particularly amongst right-wing Conservatives such as Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth, who want prisoners to serve virtually their full sentence with hardly any remission.

Fellow Conservative right-winger Lady Olga Maitland, MP for Sutton and Cheam, said the public would be horrified to see people being allowed out so quickly.

``What we really want to do is to make sure that sentencing policy is re-examined by the judiciary and by the Home Secretary. The public want justice to be done and I am sure that Michael Howard is very keen that we should not be giving people too many early releases,'' she added.

The Prison Service refused to comment on Newall's release from Leyhill Prison, Gloucestershire, but it is understood the parole date took into account his time spent in custody awaiting trial.

His brother is still in La Moye prison in Jersey serving his double life sentence.