8 years is disgusting and ridiculous for my baby's life – for any life ...
FURIOUS mum Karly Hopson has launched a petition to change sentencing guidelines following the "disgusting" eight-year jail sentence given to the man convicted of killing her baby son.
A number of Karly's friends – led by Charlotte McFarlane – have also written to the Attorney General calling for the case to be taken to the Court of Appeal on the grounds the sentence was too lenient.
As a result, the Attorney General's Office has requested further details from the Crown Prosecution Service so that the Law Officers can decide whether or not to do so.
As reported, 25-year-old Jason Redgrave was found guilty of manslaughter following six-month-old Ethan's death.
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He was babysitting for Karly, his then girlfriend, when Ethan suffered brain injuries which specialists concluded had been caused deliberately.
He was cleared of a charge of murder by the jury at Hull Crown Court because the jury did not believe Redgrave intended to kill the baby.
He was convicted of manslaughter – meaning he did kill Ethan, but not intentionally.
The fact that he has already spent six months in custody since the beloved baby's tragic death in December, means that he will be out of jail in three and a half years, and will spend the remainder of the eight years on licence.
As soon as news of the conviction and sentence broke on www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk on Wednesday, members of the 10,000-strong Facebook group, Make A Wish For Ethan George Hopson, reacted angrily – some to the fact that he had not been convicted of murder, others to the sentence.
Karly, 23, of Grimsby, said: "I accept the conviction of manslaughter because I still don't – or don't want to believe – he went to Ethan's room to kill him.
"I also believe it was a moment of madness, but a baby's life was still taken, and for this, Jason was given 8 years.
"He will serve a further three and a half years in prison and four years on tag.
"This is not justice, this is not teaching him a lesson, in my opinion, this is a slap on the wrist. "Although I understand Jason's life may never be the same once he is released from prison, something still needs to be done about the minimum number of years that can be given to somebody convicted of manslaughter.
"I do not want any other families to have to feel the failure from the justice system that me and my family have experienced – what does justice mean in England?
"Eight years is disgusting and ridiculous for my baby's life – for anyone's life, whether they meant to kill them or not."
Within three hours of her starting the online petition, more than 1,000 people had already signed it. The total has now topped 4,000.
Currently, there are no straight-forward sentencing guidelines for manslaughter cases except that the maximum is life imprisonment. Karly wants there to be a minimum term of 10 years actually behind bars in cases like Ethan's.
When sentencing Redgrave, retired High Court Judge Sir David Clarke told the court: "The sentence for manslaughter is obviously different from the sentence for murder, but the loss of a precious life is no less devastating than if it is for manslaughter, rather than murder.
"I hope and believe from the dignity that has been shown throughout, that the mother and her family will understand that the length of the sentence to be imposed is not, and must not, be measured against the value of the life that has been lost.
Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell said he would "certainly support efforts" to get the case reviewed, adding: "It does seem to be a very lenient sentence."
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers said he was also "in favour of more robust sentences as a general point".
He said: "If you have had a tragedy involving someone you know, clearly sentences such as this do seem very lenient."
You can sign the petition at www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-sentance-of-manslaughter-make-the-number-of-years-for-this-crime-high-enough-to-serve-justice
MEMBERS of the Grimsby Telegraph's expert legal team said the difficulty with cases relating to the manslaughter of children were there are no hard and fast sentencing guidelines.
Many offences are given a starting point, to work back or forward from, depending on the individual aspects of the case.
However in cases such as Ethan's death, judges must look to the sentences handed down previous cases for guidance.
In one case, heard in 2009, a judge handed down a sentence of 12 months in jail, after a child died seven years after the incident in question, as the defendant had not committed any further offences in the intervening time. He had also spent three years in prison for the initial assault on the child.
She added that the sentence given to Redgrave was "not particularly short" in comparison to other such cases and that it was normal for time spent on remand to be taken into account.
She also said that another factor likely to have been taken into account in reducing the sentence was that Ethan's death had been the result of a "one-off incident" and not months of abuse and violence.