A PROBATION officer who helped the father of a peacemaker killed with a single punch meet his killer has been shortlisted for a national award.

Geraldine Martin was a finalist in the national Probation Award’s Victim Services category for her work with the family of Padiham Ladies' football coach, Adam Rogers from Blackburn.

The 24-year-old died after being punched by Billy Upton in Blackburn town centre in July 2009, and subsequently banged his head on the pavement.

He died the next day after suffering brain injuries.

Despite claiming self-defence and putting Adam Rogers' grieving family through the ordeal of a trial, dad-of-four Dave Rogers took the controversial step to meet his son’s killer - in a new type of punishment known as Restorative Justice.

Mr Rogers said; “I cannot say much about my meeting with Billy Upton because I have signed a confidentiality agreement but I can say it was a positive experience for both parties.

“From my point of view, I wanted to show Billy the full impact of his actions that night.

“Restorative Justice should be an option for all victims of crime. Many people see this as a soft option, but it really isn’t. It gives offenders the opportunity to face up to their actions and the opportunity to say sorry.

“I know I took a lot of comfort from that meeting and I thank geraldine for all her support.”

Geraldine, is Lancashire Probation Trust’s Restorative Justice Manager and the news of her success comes just as the Trust becomes one of five Government pilot areas for restorative Justice nationally.

She said: “I’m delighted that the work we have been doing to further restorative justice in Lancashire has been recognised.”

Kevin Robinson, Chief Executive of Lancashire Probation Trust added: “This recognition celebrates the excellent approach Geraldine has taken in Restorative Justice and allows us to share best practice and increase understanding in the work we complete with victims of the most serious crimes.”