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Sophie Lancaster's mum slams attack sentence given to daughter's killer
THE mother of murdered student Sophie Lancaster has slammed as ‘derisory’ the sentence given to one of her daughter’s killers for an attack on a mental health nurse.
Brendan Harris, 21, struck a single ‘substantial’ blow which fractured the nose of David Timson at Guild Lodge, near Preston, where Harris was transferred to last year after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
The violence arose when staff tried to physically restrain him using ‘entirely proper’ methods that Harris himself had earlier agreed to.
The 21-year-old, who is serving a minimum term of 17 years and 106 days, will now have to do an extra two months following his conviction for grievous bodily harm.
But Sophie’s mum Sylvia said: “This derisory sentence for such a violent crime, under whatever circumstances, seems insufficient justice for the victim, an NHS professional. I hope the victim has fully recovered from his ordeal.”
Harris appeared at Preston Crown Court via video link with Guild Lodge yesterday.
Judge Christopher Cornwall told him: “The court has a clear public duty to make it plain to you, as well as others detained either in prison or a psychiatric hospital for very long periods, who may think, they have little to lose by behaving badly.
“Staff who care for you, often at some risk to themselves, cannot be attacked with impunity.”
Harris claimed he had struck out in self defence. He believed staff at Guild Lodge were spying on him, or poisoning or brainwashing him.
He had made repeated threats to kill another member of staff before attacking Mr Timson.
His lawyer Graham Robinson asked the court to pass a sentence which would not add to the minimum term.
Judge Cornwall said Sophie’s murder had been appalling and the attack terrible.
Passing sentence, he told Harris: “Staff at Guild Lodge behaved entirely properly, in accordance, in effect, with methods that had been discussed with you earlier and to which you had given your agreement, but all to no avail.
“Staff exercised the very greatest patience and restraint and are wholly conscious of the difficulties you suffer from.
“You cannot be permitted to use considerable unlawful violence against them and expect that to have no consequences.”
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