Government should listen to families of murder victims who say the sentencing system is broken

Two mothers have bravely spoken out after their sons were brutally murdered in acts of senseless violence.

Liam Hendry and Terry Smith lost their lives in appalling circumstances and their killers are now rightly behind bars.

But that doesn’t ease the pain for their grieving parents and friends.

Liam was just 18 when he was deliberately run over by disqualified van driver Dean Wright.

Murder victims Connor Cowper, Liam Hendry and Terry Smith
Murder victims Connor Cowper, Liam Hendry and Terry Smith

Dad-of-two Terry was stabbed 11 times after a jibe over a T-shirt.

Their killers were jailed for 22 and 15 years respectively.

Sentencing is a very emotive issue for obvious reasons.

Trial judges are expected to follow strict guidelines when handing down punishments.

But if the mothers of Liam and Terry believe their sons did not get justice, we should be listening.

They believe tougher sentences should be considered for those who callously take the lives of others.

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Their campaign is being supported by Families and Friends Affected by Murder and Suicide (FAMS).

It was set up by relatives of Paul Gerard McGilvray, 20, who was stabbed to death at a party in 2004.

The families were inspired to speak out this week after a UK Government pledge to pass Harper’s Law – promising mandatory life sentences for those who kill emergency workers.

It’s set to become law in England.

Politicians in Scotland should be speaking with family members coping with the loss of loved ones through violence on this issue.

If they say the system isn’t working, then ministers must consider making improvements.

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It may turn out that they have been overcautious and that the new variant may not be as serious as feared.

If so, this will be a rehearsal for dealing with other mutations and viruses in years to come.

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Daily Record – Motherwell