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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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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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