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Dr Sylvia Lancaster OBE, whose 20-year-old daughter Sophie was killed by a gang simply because she dressed as a goth, said: “once again we have a justice system that does not deliver justice.”
Lancaster said Ryan Herbert’s original life sentence reflected the “level of violence” her daughter was subjected to during a “savage” attack.
Herbert and a group of friends brutally beat Robert Maltby in a park in Bacup, Lancashire, before attacking his girlfriend Sophie when she rushed to his defense.
Sophie was kicked and punched in the head as she cradled her boyfriend’s head in her lap during the attack. The 20-year-old died from her horrific injuries 13 days later.
Herbert, who was 16 at the time of the August 11, 2007, attack, was jailed for life in 2008.
This week, the Parole Board decided that Herbert can now be released on license, 15 years after he participated in a beating that a judge described as “fierce, savage and ruthless.”
She said in a statement: “As much progress as people make in prison, they have been given their sentence in recognition of the magnitude of their crime.
The judge at the murder trial described the attack on Sophie as ‘savage’, with the attackers’ behavior ‘savage and ruthless’.
Her injuries were so severe that the paramedics who attended the scene could not tell facially if she was male or female. ‘
‘How can you bear to know the reality of the level of violence my daughter was subjected to and compare that with the reduction of the minimum rate because she has done well in prison?
“However, they have made progress, the minimum justice for the family is that they serve the sentence that was imposed on them. His attackers may not have received life in prison, but I did.
Brendan Harris, who was also convicted of the 2008 murder of Miss Lancaster and admitted to attacking Mr Maltby, was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 18 years.
He, Herbert and four other teenagers ‘savagely and ruthlessly attacked’ Mr Maltby in Stubbylee Park, Bacup.
Gap year student Sophie rushed to her boyfriend’s aid as she lay unconscious and yelled at her attackers to leave him alone.
Herbert and Harris then turned on her, subjecting her to a “sustained and vicious attack” that involved them kicking her in the head and stomping on her until she, too, lost consciousness.
Sophie never regained consciousness and died in hospital 13 days later.
Apparently, the couple was attacked because they looked and dressed differently.
Witnesses said the attackers celebrated afterwards, boasting: “There are two almost dead moshers up there, you want to see them, they are a real mess.”
Witnesses, including his parole officer, recommended that he be released on leave. Herbert, who became eligible for his release in February, will be subject to restrictions on his movements, where he lives and with whom he communicates.
Stating that Herbert had made “exceptional progress” in February 2020, Judge William Davis earlier said that he had also received a letter from the heads of the Learning Together program at Cambridge University, where Herbert had taken a law course that engage inmates. and students working together.
He added: ‘The way Herbert has developed since his arrival at HMP Warren Hill some two and a half years ago amounts to exceptional progress.
“The way he is described by senior staff at that facility goes far beyond what would be expected of any inmate making good progress.