One of the two murderers who killed Sophie Lancaster is set to be released from prison fifteen years after the attack.
Ryan Herbert was sixteen-years-old when he was jailed for life in 2008 for murdering Sophie, twenty, in a park in Bacup, Lancashire.
Sophie and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, were attacked by Herbert and five other teenage boys on August 11th, 2007. Sophie bore the brunt of the attack as she attempted to protect Robert from the assault, which was believed to have been provoked over their goth appearances.
The couple were so badly beaten that when paramedics arrived, they could not tell if they were male or female.
Sophie was placed on a life-support machine, but tragically died from her injuries in hospital almost two weeks later on August 24th.
Herbert admitted both murder and assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and was given a minimum term of sixteen years and three months, though this was later reduced to fifteen and a half years.
He had his minimum tariff reduced to fourteen and a half years in February 2020, making him now eligible for parole consideration two years later.
And now, High Court judge Mr Justice William Davis has concluded the tariff can be reduced again as he had made ‘exceptional progress’ in prison.
A document setting out the decision reads: “After considering the circumstances of his offending and examining the evidence for the progress made while in custody, the panel was satisfied that Mr. Herbert was suitable for release.”
At the time of his crimes, Herbert had led an ‘anti-social lifestyle’ and spent time with ‘negative friends’ who he had a ‘misguided sense of loyalty’ towards, drank and took drugs, the parole papers said.
Herbert’s behaviour behind bars had ‘initially been poor’ but this changed once he moved into an adult prison and he had taken part in rehabilitation programmes.
The document added that Herbert had ‘improved his education with studies to degree level’ and had ‘fully engaged with resettlement activities’ including spending time on temporary release from jail. He also had a job and there was ‘positive feedback about his work’.
Sophie’s mother, Sylvia Lancaster, who set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in memory of her daughter and to promote tolerance and acceptance for alternative people, has reacted to the decision, saying ‘we have a justice system that fails to deliver justice’.
She said she could not understand the decision being made ‘because they have done well in prison’ when the Parole Board knew ‘the reality of the level of violence’ Sophie had been subjected to.
She said, as per BBC News: “However much progress people make in prison, they have been given their sentence in recognition of the extent of their crime.”
Herbert, who became eligible for release in February, will be subject to restrictions on his movements, where he lives and who he contacts.
First image released of £75 million Trafford surf park amid two-year delay
The project is to be known ‘Modern Surf Manchester’
A specialist team has taken over the project, which has been delayed by two years, to deliver the £75 million inland surf park at TraffordCity.
Tartan Leisure – the organisation behind the soon-to-be-complete Lost Shore Surf Resort in Edinburgh – have announced they will take over the construction of the water park from the McKinney Group.
It will be the first inland surf attraction in the North of England and is set to be a ‘must see’ for surf enthusiasts, according to waterside regeneration specialist Peel Waters, which is overseeing the huge development.
The attraction will use inland surfing technology, ‘Powered by Wavegarden’, the world leader in man-made wave-generating technologies.
The project is to be known as ‘Modern Surf Manchester’ and will see perfect waves for beginners, learners and professionals alike to test their skills.
Early designs of the plans feature a surfing lagoon, bar and restaurant facilities and other interactive attractions for visitors and surfers such as a pump track and fitness zone, a halfpipe/boarding area and exercise areas including bouldering and balancing zones.
Planning permission was approved for the new surf destination’s plans back in 2021. Once completed, the attraction is said to create up to 140 new full-time jobs.
Peel says the surf park will ‘further enhance TraffordCity’s expanding portfolio of sport-based leisure and experience offerings’– which includes skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, rock climbing and golf.
Tartan Leisure founder, Andy Hadden, said: “There has been an enormous rise in popularity for surfing over recent years with proven benefits to our overall health and wellness.
“The Lost Shore Surf Resort in Edinburgh is on track to open next September and the response and appetite that we have seen from the public has been phenomenal.
“Now, we are excited to work in partnership with Peel Waters and bring over a decade of our knowledge and expertise to support the development of an inland surfing facility to TraffordCity.
“This will be a very exciting addition to an already incredible combined retail and experienced-based leisure destination for all to enjoy.”
The estimated time of the build will take approximately two years once the team start work on site.
Deal or No Deal fans raise over £100k for contestant with MND who only won £5
Brad can now complete his bucket list
Viewers of popular game show Deal or No Deal have raised thousands of pounds to help a contestant with Motor Neurone Disease who only won a fiver.
Brad Wale told host Stephen Mulhern that if he won then he would use the money to help his family and also attempt to complete his bucket list.
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Wale said: “I still listen to it back and watch it back and I can feel the tears coming on.
“I had every intention of winning big and I genuinely thought I would. To get to that moment and only receive £5, it was absolutely heartbreaking and devastating.”
After he walked away with just five pounds from the show, fellow contestant Rochelle Brown, 30, launched a fundraiser to help his dreams come true. Within days, thousands of pounds in donations came flooding in to help Mr Wale.
The GoFundMe page called ‘Help Brad get his bucket list’ smashed its £20,000 target in just a matter of days. At time of writing, it has raised a huge £106,000.
On the page, Ms Brown writes: “Hi! I’m Rochelle, Brad’s friend from Deal or No Deal! I’m sure you all saw Brads devastating game on Deal or No Deal.
“His DOND family really want him to fulfil his dreams and we have set this up on the hope that anyone could maybe spare a couple of pounds and get Brad to tick some bits off his Bucket List. We love you Brad.”
Mr Wale said: “I met Rochelle on my first ever audition for Deal or No Deal, when we got to filming and she was there, I was over the moon.
“We got put together opening the boxes and just formed a great friendship. Rochelle set a target, I just thought a few family members and friends would donate.
“From last Thursday the response I have had is something I could never put into words, from the bottom of my heart it means the world and I can never say thank you enough.
“You’ll never understand how much this has changed my life.”
When asked about his bucket list, Mr Wale continued: “I’ve always wanted to go to India, Thailand, just going to see places really I’ve also always wanted to do a bungee jump.
“Just to be able to wake up and think I can go and do this, or that. I’ve never had that I’ve always been skint.”
Adding: “I feel honoured blessed and guilty all at the same time, so to be given this kindness to me, is just nothing I would ever expect.”
MND is an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets progressively worse over time. There’s no cure for MND, but there are treatments to help reduce the impact it has on a person’s daily life.
Issuing an update on the fundraising page yesterday, Ms Brown wrote: “Hello everyone, I didn’t think that I would be updating SO MANY OF YOU!
“I just want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are all incredible. You have changed Brads life and I will never be able to say thank you enough.
“We are wishing you all a very merry Christmas and HAPPY HEALTHY new year.
“You have done an amazing thing for Brad and you should all be so proud of yourselves for your kindness. Xxx.”
Manchester libraries to open as ‘warm spaces’ as temperatures drop
Keep warm and stay connected
Libraries across Manchester are offering warm spaces for people seeking refuge from the cold this winter.
The initiative will see every library in Manchester transformed into ‘warm spaces’ where individuals of all ages can go inside, take cover from the elements, have warm drinks and access facilities.
Here’s what to expect at libraries across Manchester as they become welcoming warm hubs this winter…
Free hot beverages
Hot cups of tea and coffee will be available for those who are seeking respite from the cold. Self-service drinks will be free as well as warm and cosy spaces for those to rest, meet friendly people and keep warm. Hot drinks are available now until February 2024.
Access to computers, internet and Wi-Fi services
Libraries offer computer hubs where users can access computers and connect to the internet and Wi-Fi services ensuring everyone can get online without worrying about costs. Staff will be on hand to assist and help with any questions.
Families and children are welcome to keep warm in libraries across Manchester, with six local libraries offering a little something extra.
Forum Library in Wythenshawe, Longsight Library, Newton Heath Library, North City Library in Harpurhey, Powerhouse Library in Moss Side, and Withington Library are offering a selection of toys and games for children to play with, suitable from ages 0 to 12+.
Families can enjoy time together in a safe, educational and positive environment.
Free SIM cards with access to data
Recognising the challenges faced by those struggling to pay for data, all Manchester libraries are now providing free sim cards loaded with free data.
Residents over 18 years old can acquire these sims, ensuring six months of free internet access without any monthly top-up requirements. To obtain your free sim, simply visit your local library.
Digital support drop-ins
For individuals who have internet access but lack the skills or confidence to use it effectively, help is available with weekly drop-in sessions.
In collaboration with Let’s Get Digital, libraries are offering the digital drop-ins one day a week. To join a session simply text 07860 064128 for assistance and guidance.
Age-Friendly Libraries drop-ins
Manchester’s libraries have achieved ‘Age Friendly Libraries’ status, proudly displaying the new Manchester Age Friendly Library Logo.
Older residents are invited to attend weekly Age Friendly drop-ins at various library locations, providing an opportunity to meet people and socialise with others, have access to information and take part in engaging activities.
Residents will be welcomed by friendly faces with staff available to offer assistance.
Warm Hubs for families and people of all ages
Throughout the winter Manchester’s libraries are not just places containing books where visitors can go to obtain knowledge, they are also community hubs offering a place of warmth, connectivity, and support for all residents.
So, if you need a place to come in from the cold, enjoy some company, access digital and online facilities, books, a family-friendly space or simply a comfortable place to spend your day, come in from the cold – your local library welcomes you.