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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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Greater Manchester Nightingale Hospital open again due to high levels of coronavirus

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Peter McDermott/Geograph

The Nightingale Hospital for the North West will open later this week and house non-Covid patients.

The temporary facility to treat patients with Covid-19 opened originally in April but has been closed in summer. 

However, later this week it is set to reopen for non-Covid patients.

It is set to reopen as figures show the number of coronavirus patients being treated in the North West is now approaching the level it was in the first surge of the virus.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will accept patients from today to provide care for those who do not have Covid-19, but do need further support before they are able to go home, such as therapy and social care assessments.”

As of October 26th, North West hospitals had 2,407 patients with coronavirus, the highest number of cases since April 23rd.

Dr Jane Eddleston, medical director of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Nightingale will not be used as a critical care facility and neither was it in the first phase. It will be used as a facility for patients to have additional rehabilitation.”

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Sacha Lord says 10pm curfew will be reviewed next month

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David Dixon/Geograph & SachaLord/Twitter

Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, has said the government will review the 10pm curfew in November. 

All hospitality venues must shut their doors at 10pm under current laws, however, Sacha Lord and other industry members have been campaigning the curfew.

Since September 24th, when the curfew was put in place, the #CancelTheCurfew movement has been backed by a number of industry professionals.

The Parklife founder, Lord, filed a pre-action letter last night which claimed there was no scientific justification of the Tier 3 regulations and the limits on pubs and bars operating hours. 

Lord has tweeted that the government ‘are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew’ in November.

He wrote: “In November, the Government are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew.

“It doesn’t work for the public or operators.

“Overloaded transport, crowded takeaways, supermarkets etc.

“It’s doing far more harm than good. Operators are running safe and secure COVID19 venues.

“Cancel the Curfew”

Lord confirmed they had a formal response from the government regarding the judicial review where he said ‘we consider it insufficient’.

He added “I cannot go into detail, but I can say that we have considered it and it is insufficient. I have instructed my lawyers to commence legal proceedings.”

Lord is now backing the OneGM campaign, which sees different sectors of the industry coming together to show support for businesses and people in Greater Manchester. 

It is unclear yet when Greater Manchester will be removed from Tier 3 restrictions.

 

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Dr Hilary backs calls for tier 3 restrictions across all of England by Christmas

It’s not looking good.

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S&B Vonlanthen/Unsplash & GMB/Twitter

Dr Hilary has responded on GMB this morning to reports that the whole of England should be in tier 3 by Christmas. 

It comes following some reports that all of England could be placed under the strictest coronavirus restrictions by mid-December. 

The UK deaths hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, when 367 new fatalities linked to coronavirus and nearly 23,000 more cases were recorded.

The Sun explained that SAGE member, Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is ‘not unrealistic’ to think that 25,000 people could be in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.

With total Covid related deaths reaching 61,000 across the nation, there are predictions that figures will be higher than the Spring peak come December.

Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Body (Sage) are reportedly warning that virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas in the North already.

A government source also told The Sun ‘the latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’

According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Downing Street is working on the assumption that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first.’

From next week parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington will be placed into Tier Three.

This means that more than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, told Sky News: “The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.

“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will become Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.

“Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”

Dr Hilary Jones spoke on Good Morning Britain this morning explaining that a vaccine ‘won’t stop a rise in infections’.

Jones said: “Just look at the figures, the hospital admissions are increasing, doubling every two weeks. In a month from now, we’ll be worse than we were in the first wave.”

He said: “We can’t rely on a vaccine, we hope it will save people from dying but it won’t stop infections, not the early vaccine anyway.”

Adding that: “I think we still need to rely on the basic principles which is hands, face, space and if we all do that and we’re realistic and don’t say Christmas is an exception.

“If we make Christmas an exception, then every celebration will be an exception. A birthday, a Friday night, a promotion…” 

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