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Sophie Lancaster’s mum speaks out over killer’s early release saying ‘justice has failed’

Ryan Herbert is set to be released from prison fifteen years after killing Sophie Lancaster in a Bacup park in 2007

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The Sophie Lancaster Foundation & ITV News

The mum of Sophie Lancaster has spoken of her disappointment as her daughter’s murderer Ryan Herbert is set to be freed from prison.

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.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

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.

And yesterday, it was announced that Herbert will be released from prison, with High Court judge Mr Justice William Davis concluding that he had made ‘exceptional progress’ behind bars.

Sophie’s mum Sylvia Lancaster, who set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in memory of her daughter and to promote tolerance and acceptance for alternative people, has since reacted to the news, saying she is ‘disappointed’ with the Parole Board’s decision and saying the Justice System has ‘failed her daughter’.

ITV

Speaking to ITV News, she said: “They haven’t done justice for our Sophie. All you want at the end of the day is justice.

“You don’t want anything out of the ordinary, you just want justice.”

Reacting to the Parole Board’s conclusion that Herbert has made ‘significant changes to his life which reflected his remorse, his insight and increased maturity’, Sylvia said: “I hope he has. I hope he has for his sake and for society’s sake.

“We don’t want men walking round with vicious and ridiculous ideas about how he should behave.

Lancashire Police

“I do understand that people can change – and do change – but I think that we’ll sit back and see what happens.”

A document setting out the decision read: “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.”

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’.

Herbert, who became eligible for release in February, will be subject to restrictions on his movements, where he lives and who he contacts.

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‘Tourist tax’ for visitors staying in Manchester to be introduced next year

Do you think it’s a good idea?

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The Lowry Hotel / Manchester's Finest Group

Tourists visiting Manchester will have to pay a charge from April next year, if they’re staying in the city centre.

The new ‘tax’ is being implemented to fund a business improvement district group in our city to boost tourism.

The new district will be known as the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID).

The aim of the ABID will be to ‘improve the visitor experience’ to Manchester city centre and ‘support the growth of the visitor economy’ during the next five years.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Tourists who have to pay the new city centre fee will be charged £1 per night.

According to the Manchester Evening News, around 74 hotels and serviced short-stay apartments will charge visitors the fee, which is predicted to raise around £4 million annually.

Bev Craig, the leader of Manchester City Council, said: “These are exciting times for Manchester city centre with an unprecedented number of new hotel rooms being added and major new visitor attractions such as Factory International and Co-op Live due to open in the months ahead.

“Seizing that opportunity means ensuring as many rooms as possible are full all year round. We believe that targeted investment through the Manchester ABID will help support the accommodation sector – which plays such a vital role in supporting jobs in our city and adding to its overall vibrancy – to thrive.”

@thelowryhotel / Instagram

Adrian Ellis, General Manager of the Lowry Hotel and chair of the Manchester Hoteliers’ Association, added: “The Manchester Hoteliers’ Association has been in discussion for several years to develop options to create new, additional funding that will support continued high performance and future growth of the visitor economy for accommodation providers across the city.

“The result of these discussions is the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District proposal, and I am delighted that hoteliers’ have voted in favour of creating an innovative, business-led solution to some of the problems we have been facing as a sector.

“A supplementary fee for guests, added to the final accommodation bill, is now an established norm within the travel sector across the world, and the Manchester ABID will now bring our accommodation sector in line with European and global counterparts and competitors.”

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According to bosses at the ABID, the money made from the scheme will be used for marketing the city as a destination.

It will also entice further ‘large-scale events’ like festivals and conferences to come to Manchester during the off-season, as well as increasing the cleanliness of the streets, and ‘improving guest welcome’.

Following the pandemic and various Covid lockdowns, demand to visit Manchester has risen.

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First new UK coal mine in 30 years to open in the North West

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West Cumbria Mining Company

The government has given permission for the first new UK coal mine in 30 years to open in the North West.

Michael Gove approved the mine despite concerns regarding the climate impacts from both Conservative MPs and experts.

According to the BBC the mine would be located in Cumbria, and would be digging for coking coal to be used in steel production – both in the UK and across the world.

However, critics have said that the new coal mine would undermine climate targets, also pointing out that demand for coking coal is declining.

On the other hand, supporters of the project say it will both create jobs and reduce the UK’s need to import coal.

But supporters claim the mine, near Whitehaven, will create jobs and reduce the need to import coal.

The West Cumbria Mining project – which will be located near Whitehaven – has been in the balance for two years.

The local county council initially approved the mine in 2020, but this approval was suspended in early 2021 before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

The government’s climate change adviser said at the time that the coal mine would increase carbon emissions.

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26-year-old who died in horror crash named as family pay tribute to ‘sensitive soul’

‘Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being’

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Greater Manchester Police / Google Maps

A 26-year-old man who was killed in a horror crash in Manchester this weekend has been named.

Three others were critically injured in the collision, but have since been confirmed as being in a ‘stable’ condition by police.

The incident occurred on Chancellor Lane around 7am Sunday morning, and within minutes officers had attended the scene.

Greater Manchester Police

The man who sadly passed away has now been named as Saadat Shah, with his family paying tribute to the ‘sensitive soul’.

Saadat’s family said: “Saadat was a much-loved brother, son, and great human being. His life was just starting, and he just came back from Paris for his birthday last week.

“He had so many plans and was going to get married soon. He was very close with all members of his family, and he greatly loved everyone.

“A sensitive soul, he will be dearly missed by everyone forever. RIP.”

Google Maps

According to police, a car travelling away from the city centre lost control before colliding with a bollard – with no other vehicles involved.

Four men were taken to hospital to be treated, however Saadat sadly passed away despite the best efforts of medics

The other three occupants, aged 23, 24 and 29, suffered ‘life threatening injuries’, however in an update on Monday, December 5th, a Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said the car’s driver was in a ‘critical but stable’ condition.

The vehicle’s two other passengers are also in a stable condition, police said, but both have serious injuries.

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No arrests have been made in relation to the crash, and GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are still appealing for anyone who may have seen the accident during the early hours to get in touch.

Officers want to speak to anyone who may have footage – including dashcam, mobile phone or CCTV/doorbell footage – from the area in the moments both before and after the crash.

Anyone with information can contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting incident 713 of 4/12/22, or pass on details via their LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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