The family of a Lanarkshire teenager who was stabbed to death have met with Scotland's top law officer and the Justice Secretary in a bid to change the law on knife crime.
Reamonn Gormley, 19, was murdered in February 2011 as he walked home from watching a football match at a pub.
Daryn Maxwell, 23, who stabbed the student three times for refusing to hand over his wallet and mobile phone in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years’ imprisonment in December 2011.
Mr Gormley’s parents Jim and Ann are campaigning for new legislation to allow judges to impose tougher sentences on knife criminals. They have met with the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to secure their support for changes to the rules to allow judges to hand down consecutive sentences for blade offences.
At present, people convicted of multiple knife crimes can receive a concurrent sentence that sees them serve all of their sentences at the same time. Consecutive sentences run successively meaning the prisoner spends longer in jail.
Mr Gormley’s aunt Anne-Marie McKay told a newspaper: “We are just an ordinary family who felt we had a moral duty to raise this because of the incredible pain we feel. Reamonn didn’t do anything to invite or cause his death. We want the law fixed so people who habitually carry knives know they will face serious sentences.”
In a letter to the Gormley family, the Lord Advocate said: “We discussed the inability of judges to impose a consecutive sentence on an accused who has been released on licence under the existing legislation and this has also been raised with justice officials at the Scottish Government to consider a change in the law to allow consecutive sentencing to be imposed in these circumstances.”
Prior to the murder, Maxwell had been jailed for a knife offence and then given a concurrent sentence when he was later found in possession of a knife while in prison.
The Gormely family believes that, had Maxwell received a consecutive sentence, he would have been in prison and unable to kill their son. Their campaign also calls for mandatory custody with no bail for frequent knife criminals, for knife crime to be punished as an aggravated offence, and for the establishment of a sentencing quango to ensure tougher punishments.