Crime, what's with all the current violence in my town

Earlier this year I created a hub about an elderly resident of my town who was brutally murdered. Joan Charlton was horrifically killed by a young man who then sat and laughed outside of her home as her body was removed. Thankfully this person was promptly arrested, convicted and sentenced to a prison sentence. However as he was young and did not deny his guilt his sentence was far too short and inappropriate for the suffering he caused to this lady and her family.

Joan's murder was in June 2009 and December 8th 2009 had reports of another trial in the city for the crime of murder. This murder had occurred in April 2009

The victim Simon Ash
The victim Simon Ash
Atkins
Atkins
Marshall
Marshall
Mr Potts and some of his injuries
Mr Potts and some of his injuries

In the dock charged with murder was Carl Anthony Robert Marshall and Bret Atkins. Both men are aged 19 but were 18 when they committed these crimes. Both pleaded guilty to the charges levied at them.

It appears that on the 7th April 2009 these two teenagers went on a brutal rampage.

Firstly they attacked a 62 year old man, who was walking home through the city centre. John Potts was brutally attacked, kicked and stamped on in a frenzy of violence. Marshall and Atkins have already been charged and sentenced for this offence in a separate trial. CCTV footage of the terror they inflicted was shown on TV this week. It was appalling.

I cannot help but wonder if a trial for all of their offences together, would have been better. This would have saved the taxpayer money and would have shown the jury the true extent of these two's violent acts. Perhaps this would have lead to a more fitting sentence.

Anyway what happened was that after leaving Mr Potts for dead the two carried on their merry way of violence.

In a secluded part of the city these two individuals came across 32 year old Simon Ash. He was making his way home across the Millennium Bridge. Sensing that these two were trouble, Simon tried in vain to contact the police on his mobile phone. His directions were apparently unclear. He attempted to run away from these two, but his efforts were in vain. These two young men were bent on violence and would not give up until they found what they were looking for.

Help did not arrive in time.

Simon was kicked, jumped on and stamped to death by these two individuals. It would seem that they took great pleasure in meting out this violence. They then stole his phone and new shoes as Simon lay dying. In fact they tried on his shoes and walked about in them.

The two offenders had drunk a bottle of Vodka and set out on their spree of violence at 11.30 pm. By 2.30 in the morning they had injured one man so much that he needed reconstructive surgery to rebuild his face and killed another.

Mr Potts has been left with many problems and his family will also suffer. The family of Simon have to deal with the trauma of losing a family member, and in such horrific circumstances.

The sentence

For the murder of Simon Ash, Marshall received a minimum jail term of 21 years and Atkins received 19 years minimum. Strange in some ways as apparently Marshall did not participate in the violence on Simon. However, neither did he try to stop it. He simply stood by and watched. For the robbery carried out on Mr Ash the pair received a 4 year sentence to run concurrently.The sentence for the attack on Mr Potts was 6 years each to run concurrently.

Appropriate sentencing? No way near the sentence warranted or deserved.

Mr Potts and Simon Ash were ordinary individuals, going about their day to day life. It could have been anyone who was attacked. These two men were simply in the wrong place and at the wrong time. With Atkins and Marshall bent on violence any person who crossed their path would not have been safe.

It saddens me to read of such horrors in my hometown.

When I was young, in the fifties, we did not hear of a murder that often. The city was violent in some ways but much of that was drunken fishermen, home from a trip to Iceland. With a huge pay packet to spend, they would drink much of their pay away. This inevitably lead to fights in pubs and bars. Sadly, this also led to violence in the home and many wives of fishermen had black eyes after their husband had been home.

By the seventies one murder a year was often the case but these days the statistics are frightening. It is the level of violence and the age of the offenders which leads me to wonder just what has gone so wrong?

Lack of parental guidance, low intelligence, boredom, modern influences, no future and more have been blamed at times. However, it is hard to think as these awful individuals do, and so we probably will never understand the full reasons.

These days we see and hear reports of so many nasty, violent, senseless crimes. The perpetrators seem to simply find pleasure in another person's pain. Like all bullies their targets are the elderly, frail or outnumbered.

I have never been an advocate of the death sentence, mainly because there have been so many wrongful convictions. However in such cases, when the defendant's guilt is definite, perhaps capital punishment is the only sensible option for all concerned.

We do not have to be barbaric and make the sentence fully fit the crime. So in this case we would not have to stamp the life out of these two individuals leaving our footprints embedded in their faces as they did to Mr Ash. However, we could humanely euthanize these people as society should never have to risk them being on its streets again.

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Comments 29 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Its so sad am. Thanks for dropping by


Alissa Margaret 6 years ago

Great writing. I've been wondering pretty much the exact same thing about the area I live in, too.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

I'll do my best Diane :)


Diane 6 years ago

Thank you Ethel - please keep up the hubs. xx


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Yes Diane we seem to have gone from one extreme to another. Take care, and thank-you for your comments


Diane 6 years ago

I wept when I read Mark's comments. As you know Ethel, Joan Charlton was my beloved Aunt and the horror of what happened to her will stay with me forever. My heart goes out to Mark and his family - what happened to his brother Simon is truly appalling.

Since the death of Joan I have tried to reason with the powers that be about what appears to me to be menial sentences - and the return of the Death Penalty. Apparently the courts are tied by a set of tariffs for sentencing - a minimum sentence does not mean automatic release - it's a perios of time which must be served before release will even be considered by a parole board. But, I'm sure that Mark feels, as I do, that no sentence is long enough - and that the families of victims are the ones who serve a sentence. One response from Clair Ward MP (Ministry of Justice....err, for that perhaps read INjustice!) regarding the death penalty is that the abolition of the death penalty was part of Parliament signing the European Convention on Human Rights - and the Convention as a whole would have to be denounced if Parliament reintroduce the death penalty in peacetime. So, it seems that criminals have rights and the innocent don't. As Mark says - life should mean life.

A very unfair world.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Mark thanks for the comments. Spelling is fine, especially under the circumstances. There is nothing I can say I know. I do agree though that life sentences need to be tougher and that some people would be better put out of their misery, ie in the case of these two offenders.

Regards to you and your family


mark ash 6 years ago

hi ethel

i am the brother of simon ash.

i was in shock and felt betrayed when i heard what jail sentence they got. the defending qc made me feel sick when he described my brothers murder as a drunken folly. i have even heard that they are being treated with kid gloves in jail, social worker types going out of their way to help them settle down to jail life, and getting them extra visit times because they have a baby. they even get extra protection. shame they cant show the same level of protection to the hard working tax payers. forensic reports showed that carl marshal and atkins did have a drink but not enough to be drunk. a witness even said they never seemed drunk. its not drink and drugs that make them evil, they are just evil. they have no fear of the law. im afraid to say that if you had met their mother you would know why they did what they did. after the first day at court, atkins mother rang bret atkins friends to come in court and give my family trouble but when the little drug addicts saw the size of me and my friend, both of us ex para,and the size of the security officer they put their heads down and cleared off. his mother showed no remorse for my family. as she was about to leave court she said to her other son "i cant believe they got that long for murder, should have been drunken man slaughter" just glad i kept my mouth shut, from day 1 she was trying to make trouble for my family.the police told her to back off. i feel sorry for her husband as he is a nice man who i have worked with before, i know he feels so asmamed of what his son did. all i can say is that his mother is a nasty piece of work. bret and carl had a string of other offences that was serious enough to put them in jail but they only got warning after warning, they even did a car robbery 3 weeks after getting a 2 year suspended sentence and only got a caution.do gooders will probably hate me for this but im going to start fighting tooth and nail for the death sentence in UK. when it was abolished, it was abolished on the strict understanding that life in jail meant life, not 15 years.

got a little comment on gun crime. only good people get banned from using guns, not criminals. nearly every gun crime in the USA UK is by a criminal and the crime is committed in a gun free zone, why? because the criminals know that good people abide by the law and they will leave their guns in the car. gun crime is rife in the UK but its very rare it gets in the news. did you know that 4 men was arrested on holderness road 21 dec 10pm 2009 near asda, they had 2 pistols a machine gun, a bundle of money and drugs? they came to hull from liverpool in a stolen car with a fake reg. keep a lookout for them in court, should be coming up soon.

ps sorry for the bad spelling

regards


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks for the input moneyglitch


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

It is sad that there is high crime just about every where and I agree with you that the jail sentences for the crime do not match the horrific acts of violence and murder that is being committed. Especially when you have taken someone's life. Thanks for sharing your insight on this matter.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

It is Jeen.

It would be so easy to be in the wrong place.

Hopefully such barbaric crimes are still scarce. They should be non existent though


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Wow Ethel, such viciousness and brutality! I can't imagine having the misfortune of running into these two on the street, with no means of escape. More and more young men seem to be so angry and bent on destruction, it is a sad sign of the times we live in.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Marnie. My town has a lot going for it but unfortunately too many morons, like the young murderers here.


marniesmeandering profile image

marniesmeandering 6 years ago

Why spend money on gas to put these guys out of their misery? I say, hang 'em. I'll buy the rope. I agree that without the morals and ethics taught (usually at church) kids these days don't even understand sympathy and remorse. Psychologists will tell you that their frontal lobe, the part of the brain that can see the effect of the action before performing the action, is not developed till sometime in their twenties. I say, teaching others to be kind, no matter the age, is first and foremost the parents job. When morals and ethics were taught in school, along with the ten commandments, crimes like this were a rarity if at all. When people used to live in small villages, and everyone was held accountable, and everyone knew everyone's business, this was also a good way to keep people in line. Wolves will destroy a pack member that hurts another pack member, or doesn't care for their young, or make them leave the pack to live on their own, which without a pack ends in death. We humans could learn a lot from the animals. They are never cruel. I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened in your town. You must be really shaken, as i would be. Hearing about it just makes me horribly angry. Good thing I'm not God. These guys would be crispy critters by now.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

I hoped you would Ralph. You seem to be a sensible guy


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Ethel, I agree. I would prefer to see the U.S. go the way of the UK on guns, etc.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Yes Christal I am sorry to say that it is a sad fact of life these days. Thanks for the visit


christalluna1124 profile image

christalluna1124 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Ethel,

Hi. I totally agree with you. I did a piece on juveniles and life imprisonment, I do not consider it cruel or inhumane. Also there comes a time when we cannot blame our actions on our past, our upbringing, being on drugs...you did it voluntary. And like yourself i am not happy when we have to use the death penalty, but many times it is necessary and a lot more humane than the suffering their victims went through. These are not teenagers like you and I were. They are violent, without regard for human life and even sit and eat at the tables of the victims after dismenbering them. Great outlook.

Warnest regards

Christal


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Well although I am no longer religious I have to agree. We were brought up to go to church and had moral guidance which stood us in good stead.

Few children in my city these days ever see the inside of a church, except perhaps for a funeral. Thanks for the visit timothy


Timothy Donnelly profile image

Timothy Donnelly 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Ethel Smith, sorry to hear that you guys have to put up with such. Forgive my ignorance, but I wonder, do you see many families going to church on Sundays? This careless violence I suspect, stems more from a lack of (or incorrect understanding of) heavenly knowledge and hopes of redemption, rather than a blatant and unconscionable choice to self-destruct oneself and injure others, because that surely comes of evil. If evil is the case, lock 'em up for good. And for those who still have the option: take your children to Sunday school!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks amanda and patricia for your input. I guess it is a mixture of many things. It is hard to imagine being such a heartless person though as many of these violent criminals are.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Pat writes: I am sure that the increasing use in drink/drug consuption plays a part, but I do wonder about the effect of video games on young men with low intelligence. Some of the games feature violence, and characters in the games 'kill' each other. I wonder if some of these young men have any understanding of the emotion that surrounds real people getting hurt and killed.

I do agree with what Amanda writes about guns above - having guns freely available would just make things worse.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

I completely agree with you on the gun issue Ethel. When I read about gun crime in America I am eternally grateful to live in a country where gun ownership is a rarity rather than the norm. As to the increase in violent crime, I suspect that the softly softly approach in schools has done little to help. I'm not a violent person, and never raise my hand to my children, but I do wish they would bring back the cane in schools. Sometimes a short, sharp lesson teaches more respect than a dozen detentions.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks for all the comments guys. It is sad to hear Jay that your street has this problem. Touchwood we have been lucky where we live. The road I mean.

Ralph yes I see what you are saying but I would not want the Uk to go down the route of the US with guns on the streets. I know that there are gun gangs but as yet we are not a gun happy society. As for fighting back these bullies tend to pick people who cannot. Poor Joan Charlton was 80 odd years old and in her home when her murderer struck.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

It's all a part of broken Britain. The criminals have more rights than the victim. Every house in our street has been broken into over the last year and the police have caught no-one.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Recently I read an interesting letter to the editor of the New Yorker which attributed the prevalence of violence in the U.S. in contrast to the UK, in part, to a difference in the common law in the two countries. For perhaps hundreds of years the UK common law rules included a "duty to retreat" when attacked or threatened before striking a blow or shooting someone. The U.S. common law was the same until early in the 20th century when the U.S. Supreme Court voided the "duty to retreat" rule. Apparently, this rule didn't fit in with American pioneering and Wild West traditions. So, the rules of self defense in the U.S. tend to permit more shooting and less retreating.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, ethel, thank you for your comeback. Not only in your town, it is everywhere. In London is mainly drug and drink fuelled. This generation has no respect, feelings or anything. Yet they think, if they think, if they kill somebody that is it but they destroying their live just the same. Don't they get that message?


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

I agree hello. It would seem that the two murderers above were not high on drugs though.

Having said that drugs are a huge problem in my town.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Ethel, it is horrific. Unless they stop drugs it will not stop all these murders. I am sure they don't know what they doing and I am the last one to take up for them. The only way and the only way is to jump down on those dru barons. Surely with all these sophiticated equipment which they have these days, they must be able to pick them out. In Glasgow they had a judge who gave them high prison sentences with no parol. The crime wave stopped there and then. Why people don't look around to find out if there is someone who has a better idea. Also to hell with HUMAN RIGHTS for them. They don't give other humans their rights.

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