One of the killers of a girl who was murdered for 'dressing like a goth' is to be released early from prison.
Sophie Lancaster died 14 days after coming to her boyfriend's aid when he was attacked for dressing alternatively, but while he lay unconscious, the attackers turned on Sophie – who never regained consciousness.
Ryan Herbert was handed a life sentence after admitting killing the 20-year-old girl. He also admitted to causing grievous bodily harm with intent. She was cradling her boyfriend's head in her arms at the time of the attack.
This led to a minimum jail term for Herbert of 16 years and three months, which was later reduced to 15-and-a-half years after a successful appeal.
However, due to his alleged 'exceptional progress', that sentence was cut down again today (Monday 10th February) at the High Court – to 14-and-a-half years.
According to Justice William Davis, Herbert has become a mentor and was described as 'one of the most reliable, sensitive and conscientious students' at the University of Cambridge – where he has taken a law course alongside uni students who are willing to learn with inmates.
According to Manchester Evening News, the judge said: "The way in which Herbert has developed since his arrival at HMP Warren Hill some two-and-a-half years ago does amount to exceptional progress.
"The way in which he is described by the senior staff at that establishment goes significantly beyond what would be expected of any inmate making good progress.
"The material from the Learning Together programme shows extraordinary progress, even from the point reached by Herbert at the time of the review conducted (in 2016).
"This exceptional progress most certainly could not have been foreseen at the time the sentence was imposed. In 2008, Herbert was a young person whose only contribution to education was to disrupt and who saw no purpose in learning.
"In 2020 he is someone who has a profound interest in his own education and the education of others."
According to witnesses, it was revealed in court that Herbert was quoted as saying there were "two moshers nearly dead in the park" after he had carried out the assault with his friends.
He could be out in two years.