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Sophie Lancaster’s mum speaks out after her daughter’s killer has minimum jail term cut

“I just think where’s the justice?”

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Family photo of Sophie Lancaster

News broke yesterday that one of the killers of Sophie Lancaster has had his minimum jail term reduced because he’s made ‘exceptional progress’ in prison.

Sophie was attacked in a park in Lancashire back in 2007, after she rushed to protect her boyfriend from a gang of youths – the pair were ‘savagely and mercilessly’ beaten because they were dressed as goths.

Ryan Herbert and Brendan Harris were part of the ‘feral’ gang who attacked Sophie, 20, and her boyfriend Robert Maltby for ‘dressing differently’, leaving Sophie unconscious. Mr Maltby survived – but with terrible injuries – and sadly two weeks later Sophie died in hospital, the Manchester Evening News reports.


Ryan Herbert – Credit: Lancashire Police

Herbert – who was 16 at the time – was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum of 16 years and three months (later reduced to 15-and-a-half years on appeal) for the attack in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, in the early hours of August 11th 2007.

Now 28, Herbert had his sentence reduced even further yesterday by a High Court judge, to 14 and a half years, with the judge saying he’s making ‘exceptional progress’ in prison, including with his education – this means Herbert could apply for parole as early as February 2022.

Harris was also found guilty of murder and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years – his case was also reviewed by a judge, but he was not found to have made enough progress to have a sentence reduction.

Now Sophie Lancaster’s mum has said she thinks there’s ‘no justice’. Sylvia Lancaster has become a well-known hate crime campaigner since her daughter’s death, and runs a charity in Sophie’s name.

Family photo of Sophie Lancaster

Sylvia told the Manchester Evening News: “I was told this morning. It’s been going on for about 18 months, so I was aware it was potentially in a pipeline. But it was still a big shock. I just think where’s the justice?

“It’s very sad this whole process seems to be about the victims. It’s all about the perpetrator. I am glad he’s doing well in prison and hopefully he’s changed. But he was given a sentence and he should serve it in my opinion.

“They say he’s been doing these courses, that’s good, but my daughter never got the chance to do hers. It just doesn’t seem right he should have time deducted. I just think it makes a mockery of justice.”

She added: “In my eyes it is life for a life. A life sentence if you have taken a life and at the end of the day he has taken a life. He may have been 16 but he was old enough to know what he was doing and he should serve the consequences for it.

“The original judge did all he could, gave them as much as he could, and we were very grateful for that now it feels like other people, who have no idea, are chipping away at it.”

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Energy bills set to rise even higher in worrying new prediction

Households will soon be faced with annual bills of over £4,000

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Energy bills are set to rise even higher than previously predicted, according to worrying new figures released today.

Energy consultancy firm Cornwall Insight has forecasted that the average household will be paying £3,582 a year, £200 higher from the £3,359 originally predicted earlier this month.

And from January, the amount is expected to rise even higher to £4,266 before continuing to rise in April to £4,427.

The previous forecast for April was £3,729 – that’s a rise of £650.

Cornwall insight said it had increased its forecast due to the continuing rise in wholesale prices and an expected change in methodology for how the energy price cap is calculated.

Dr. Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight, described the predicted increase in January as a ‘fresh shock’.

Read More: Ofgem boss issues warning to people planning energy bill boycott

He said: “The cost of living crisis was already top of the news agenda as more and more people face fuel poverty, this will only compound the concerns.”

However, Dr. Lowrey explained that without the more frequent changes to the price cap, more energy suppliers might be in danger of collapse.

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He said the change in how the price cap is calculated was necessary to prevent suppliers going bust, but added: “Rather than critiquing the methodology of the cap, it may be time to consider the cap’s place altogether.

“After all, if it is not controlling consumer prices, and is damaging suppliers’ business models, we must wonder if it is fit for purpose – especially in these times of unprecedented energy market conditions.

“It is essential that the government use our predictions to spur on a review of the support package being offered to consumers.

“If the £400 was not enough to make a dent in the impact of our previous forecast, it most certainly is not enough now.”

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Avanti West Coast slashes timetable and suspends ticket sales to Manchester ‘until further notice’

The disruption is expected to last for the rest of the month

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Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast has slashed its timetables and suspended ticket sales to Manchester ‘until further notice’.

The company said severe staff shortages caused by ‘unofficial strike action’ by ASLEF members is the reason for their reduced services, which are expected to be impacted for the rest of the month.

As a result of this, services will run on a reduced service, with trains between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly being the worst affected.

Train frequencies between the capital and Manchester will be reduced to as few as one per hour, rather than the usual three.

There will be just four Avanti West Coast trains per hour from Euston travelling to Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

Avanti West Coast said that many passengers have experienced short-notice cancellations in recent weeks and they hope the reduced timetable will allow them to run a reliable service.

Ticket sales and closed reservations have also been suspended from August 14th to September 11th ‘to minimise the number of people disrupted’.

A statement from the company said: “From August 14th, until further notice, we will be introducing a reduced timetable on our services. This is due to the current industrial relations climate which has resulted in severe staff shortages in some grades through increased sickness levels, as well as unofficial strike action by ASLEF members.

“As a result of the above, including the majority of drivers declaring themselves unavailable for overtime, our customers have faced multiple short-notice cancellations on our network which has had a severe impact on their plans.

“The reduced timetable is being introduced to ensure a reliable service is delivered so our customers can travel with greater certainty. This decision was not taken lightly, and we are sorry for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this will cause.”

The company went on to urge rail unions to ‘engage in meaningful industry reform talks around modernising working practices and developing a railway fit for the 21st century’.

Their statement concluded: “If you’ve already booked to travel with us from August 14th onwards and your train is cancelled, your ticket will be accepted on the Avanti West Coast service before or after your original booked train.”

Alternatively, passengers can claim a full, fee-free refund from their point of purchase if they can no longer travel due to the amended timetable.

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‘Grease’ star Dame Olivia Newton-John has died aged 73

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Grease actress Dame Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of seventy-three.

A representative for the Cambridge-born actress confirmed the news tonight, saying Olivia ‘died peacefully at her ranch in Southern California Monday morning, surrounded by family and friends’.

Her death comes after a thirty-year-long battle with breast cancer.

Her husband John Easterling confirmed the news in a Facebook post on her official page, writing: “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.

“We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over thirty years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.

“In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org).

“Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.”

Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and again in 2013, though she chose to keep her diagnosis private the second time around.

When she was diagnosed for the third time in 2018, she was informed the cancer had spread to the base of her spine. However, she remained optimistic and was determined to beat the disease with the help of her husband. 

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