Yes, these brothers were charged jointly with Westley’s murder. Sadly the one that had caused the whole thing to unfold in the first place, the brother that had unreasonably tried to push in front of Westley, we subsequently came to realise that they had both been involved in violence, in carrying knives, and probably now they both would have been found guilty of murder. But as it happened the one that caused the whole thing was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, and is due to be released in March of 2009. That’s very hard for me and the rest of the family. I’ve tried very much to protect Westley’s brother and sister from that knowledge or from the awareness too much of that situation because Westley’s sister’s birthday is in March, I will probably have to speak to them nearer the time, because I don’t know how much of it will be reported in the papers. When the actual appeal, the last appeal went ahead earlier this year because the appeal was being heard in London, and it wasn’t common knowledge, I didn’t think for one moment that it would be reported in the local papers, and it was splashed all over the papers so once again you know, as much as I try and protect the family, invariably it creeps up to bite you somewhere.
What happened to the other one, was he charged with…?
The other one was found guilty of murder. But he was given a life sentence, but that life sentence means that he will serve 15 years before he can apply for parole. Now, he had previous history of violence. Why has he only got a tariff of 15 years, a starting tariff effectively, under the present rules through the criminal justice act of 2003, that is the starting tariff for a life sentence for someone over 18 years of age.
That’s the minimum?
That’s the minimum. Now if they had shot my son they would probably have, or he rather, the one that was found guilty of murder, would’ve probably got 20 to 25.
Why does it make a difference?
Well exactly, why does it make a difference? And that’s been the main reason why, where I started out with the campaign, and that is a) to raise the awareness of the fact that if you stab somebody in the chest or in the neck the likelihood is that person will die, and therefore that’s almost an act of execution. That person hasn’t set out to harm the person; they’ve set out to most probably kill the person.
And in those circumstances, with a history of violence and a history of carrying knives, knife crime if you like, knife based murder and a murder to a gun should be a comparable life sentence. Now from the original campaign, of asking the government to deal with knife crime and gun crime in a similar sense, we have actually on the lower end, people that are found to be carrying a knife or a gun got close to the sentences that can be imposed, but invariably they’re not being imposed. But in terms of murder and manslaughter, they are still very far apart on the actual life sentences, tariffs that are given.