Life sentences for people who abuse children, and those who kill emergency workers on duty are among a series of criminal justice reforms coming into force today.
The government says the landmark reforms are designed to “make our streets safer”.
The reforms are part of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC Act) – which the government says equips police with “the powers and tools they need to combat crime”, while overhauling sentencing laws in a bid to protect the public, and keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.
The introduction of higher maximum penalties for a range of child cruelty offences will be known as ‘Tony’s Law’ after seven-year-old Tony Hudgell.
When Tony was a baby, he was attacked by his birth parents and left with broken fingers and toes, plus torn ligaments in his legs – however, he was left untreated and in pain for 10 days, and the delay in getting treatment meant that both his legs had to be amputated in 2017, which has left him wheelchair-bound.
His birth parents were sentenced to the current maximum jail term of 10 years.
But Tony’s adoptive mother Paula Hudgell said that more has to be done to protect vulnerable children, adding that the planned tougher sentences are for “Tony and all the babies and children that suffered or lost their lives at the hands of their abusers”.
The law follows the tireless campaigning of PC Andrew Harper’s family, and his widow Lissie Harper, who were prompted to take action after the 28-year-old was killed while responding to a call about a stolen quad bike in Berkshire on 15 August 2019.
PC Harper’s killers – 19-year-old Henry Long, and his two 18-year-old passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers – were cleared of murder, and given sentences of between 13 years and 19 years for manslaughter, and although an appeal was made by the Attorney General asking for their jail terms to be increased, this was rejected.
Lissie had previously said she was “outraged” by the length of sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for his death.
Some of the other reforms being introduced as part of the PCSC Act include ending the automatic early release of offenders deemed to be a danger to the public, giving domestic abuse victims more time to report incidents of common assault or battery, and making the taking of non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be punishable by up to two years in prison.
The most violent and sexual offenders, including rapists, will also be forced to spend longer in prison to keep the public safer.
Judges will also be able to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving or death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, and there will also be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.
Controversially, the PCSC Act also introduces a new offence of “intentionally of recklessly” causing public nuisance, which the government says reflects the rise in so-called “guerrilla protest” tactics, and there’ll also be new police powers to tackle non-violent protests that cause disruption to the public or access to parliament.
“This government is delivering on its commitment to make our streets safer,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“We have changed the law so that dangerous criminals are given the sentences they deserve and kept behind bars, and we are backing the police with the powers they need to keep us safe.
“We are well on our way to getting 20,000 more police officers, and we will continue to support victims seeking justice and bear down on crime so that everyone, in every town, village and city, has the security and confidence they deserve.”
You can read the full list of reforms introduced as part of the PCSC Act on the gov.uk website.
Featured Image – Pxhere
Tributes pour in after Oldham Coliseum announces ‘heartbreaking’ death of general manager
Oldham Coliseum says it’s “heartbroken” to announce that its general manager has sadly passed away over the weekend.
Lesley Chenery served as the Oldham-based theatre’s Head of Production from 2013 – 2021, before leaving the position and then returning in January 2023 as General Manager to help the theatre through “a difficult situation”.
Sharing the heartbreaking news of her shock death on social media last night, Oldham Coliseum Theatre said in a statement: “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Coliseum General Manager Lesley Chenery this weekend.
“Lesley was head of production from 2013 to 2021, and returned this January as General Manager to help guide the company through the loss of NPO Funding. Lesley was the backbone of the Coliseum, her presence at the theatre over the past weeks has brought immeasurable relief to us all.
“She was a friend, a support and a rock to many current and previous members of Coliseum staff [and] her knowledge, experience and love for the Coliseum and the team is unmatched – we will miss her beyond words.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
Hundreds of people have been sharing their heartfelt tributes to Lesley since the announcement.
One person shared in tribute on social media: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear this news. She was such a fireball of fun, strength and fairness. Always a voice of equality & standing up for whoever wasn’t in the room, with a huge passion for theatre. Loved and admired by many.”
Another wrote in tribute: “What awful news, Lesley was always so incredibly supportive to everyone working at The Coliseum. She was also a lovely warm funny person.
“Thinking of her family, friends and everyone at The Coliseum. What a terrible loss.”
A third person wrote: “Very very sad news. Lesley will be missed by so many of us who have worked with her across the industry. I remember working with her earlier in my career at the dukes Lancaster and then years later at the coliseum.
“She was a very experienced production manager, plus a thoughtful and caring person.”
The news of Lesley’s untimely passing comes just days after Oldham Coliseum Theatre announced that it was forced into making the “incredibly difficult decision” to cancel all its upcoming events and theatre shows after its funding was cut.
The historic venue was dropped from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April.
This month award-winning piemakers Great North Pie Co will officially open in Manchester city centre, bringing its high-quality goodies to Kampus for the very first time.
Serving up a modern take on traditional pie and mash dinners, a new, seasonal menu features four butter-pastry pies, stuffed to the brim using only the best ingredients from North West producers.
From 14-hour braised beef and ale pies, to roast chicken and mushroom and the company’s hero classic Lancashire cheese and onion, pie fans can expect to find classic flavour combinations done well at the cosy and intimate new space.
Each pie on the menu is served with a wide range of sides, with choices including buttery mash or proper home-style chips, cauliflower cheese, pickled red cabbage, mushy garden peas or chip shop mushy peasall served withroast onion and brown sauce gravy or the house curry sauce- the ultimate feed.
There will also be weekly comfort food specials such as lamb and pea steamed suet puddings, corned beef hash, Lancashire Hot Pot, and keema and chips.
To round off the perfect meal, puddings include school dinner-style sweet treats like chocolate sponge and custard and the classic sticky toffee pudding.
Breakfast sandwiches will be served daily between 10:30am and 2.30pm and will feature quality versions of all the breakfast classics including Cheshire Smokehouse honey-cured bacon and Stornoway black pudding.
The drinks menu, meanwhile, includes the likes of Manchester Union Lager on draught, a selection of quality wines and proseccos, plus a handful of spritz style cocktails.
With booth-style seating for 20 inside and an outdoor area seating area for up to 30 more overlooking the Kampus garden and canal, the cosy new pie cafe is the first resident to arrive on the cobbles of Kampus’s Little David Street.
Neil Broomfield, co-founder of Great North Pie Co, said: “Since we started making pies it’s always been an ambition to have a base in the city centre.
“We’d been looking for a while and as soon as we saw Kampus, Little David Street and the gardens, we knew it was the right place for us. While it’s our first city centre venue, we don’t have plans to rollout out any more, as we place our focus on keeping the quality and consistency we aim for.
“We just want to concentrate on doing one thing and doing it well. The mix of traders coming into Kampus is amazing and we’re so proud to be part of it.”
Great North Pie Co also has venues in Lake District’s Ambleside and in Altrincham Market. Its products can also be found at monthly farmers markets, where they started the business, in locations such as Urmston, Knutsford, Northwich, Altrincham, Chester, Wilmslow, Chorlton, Bakewell, Macclesfield and West Didsbury.
The pie brand supplies pubs and restaurants nationwide and also supplies to the likes of Booths, Robinsons’s brewery, Dukeshill Hams, Manchester City Football Club, Stockport County FC, and other popular pubs and restaurants across the country.