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
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.
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.