Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Criminal scum stalks A12 bridges


One of our new MPs makes a very good point on Twitter this evening.  Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston and part of the new 2010 intake, sent this tweet on the horrendous attack on a car passenger who had a concrete block thrown at her from an A12 bridge in Essex last week:

Carol Manley was travelling with husband, Steve, along the A12 in Essex when a person or persons threw a piece of concrete the size of a bucket off an overhead bridge on to their car.  The concrete block went through the windscreen of the car, which was travelling at 45mph, and landed on Mrs Manley face and chest.  She is now in hospital with serious internal injuries and fractures to her face and ribs. Police believe the criminals struck earlier in the evening when another concrete block smashed the windscreen of Lisa Horne’s car on the A12. Both incidents are being treated as attempted murder.
Mr Goldsmith makes the point that those who are caught, charged and convicted of these mindless crimes should be handed down a sentence of twenty years. I completely agree and every day of those twenty years should be served at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Unfortunately, we have a government front bench stuffed with liberals, especially Ken Clarke the Justice Secretary, and a judiciary who loves to favour the criminal and now has the Human Rights Act as its great defender of weak justice. If anyone does go to prison for these sickening crimes I suspect they will be walking the bridges of the A12 again within 5 years tops.
Let’s hope Zac Goldsmith and his like-minded colleagues can bring back tough justice to our courts.

Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

3 thoughts on “Criminal scum stalks A12 bridges

  1. GavinDepending on the long term physical and psychological condition of the most injured victim, the charge indicated is likely to be Attempted Murder, although this may be reduced to Attempted Grievous Bodily Harm given that it will be difficult to establish intent to kill as required of Attempted Murder. If convicted of Attempted Murder a first time offender can expect to be sentenced to somewhere in the range of 17-25 years custody, of which up to half could be served on licence in the community.The law says that the judge has to take into account a guilty plea, potentially reducing the sentence by up to 1/3rd.Therefore the law means that the judge is likely to sentence any guilty person to around 14 years if they plead guilty, with them leaving jail after 7 years. This isn't down to the Human Rights Act or the weak judiciary, it is a requirement of the Coroner's and Justice Act 2009 and the sentencing guidelines council.On the point about the HRA1998, the rights allowed by this Act have been available in the UK since Winston Churchill signed us up to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the 1950s. All that has happened is that it allows English courts to consider HRA issues rather than having to elevate them to the ECtHR.

  2. This is an unpleasant echo of the death of a Welsh taxi driver in 1984-5, killed by a concrete block taking a miner to work during the strike -there were convictions in this case. The weight and bulk of such a block surely DEMANDS premeditation and co-operation, which amounts to attempted murder as the culprits would have been aware of the earlier case and it's consequences.

  3. It is indeed a very unpleasant echo of the death of David Wilkie, which led to accusations of hiding evidence against Kim Howells, who was Minister of Transport, Culture and Education under Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown.However the incident was in 1984, it is quite possible that the perpetrators weren't even born then, and highly unlikely they will have heard of the case. Premeditation and co-operation does NOT amount to attempted murder. Attempted murder (unlike murder) is only available where the prosecutor can prove beyond reasonable doubt an intent to kill. Such an intention can only be inferred when the death is a virtual certainty. Attempted murder is an act which is more than merely preparatory to unlawfully kill a human being with the intention to kill a human being contrary to the Queens Peace. Premeditation does indicate an attempt under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981. Co-operation may or may not have happened which may or may not allow a conspiracy charge.The point is that it is extremely hard to prove mens rea in an Attempted Murder charge like this. The use of Attempted GBH, which has the option of a similar length of sentence, brings into the ambit of the mens rea the criminal recklessness of whether or not death or serious bodily harm was caused. It is therefore much easier to prove to the criminal standard.If the CPS charges the wrong charge and obtains a conviction, if the conviction is not based on the law it will be turned over on appeal. Then Gavin and others will bang on about weak leftie judges, when actually it was a mistake in the original trial that led to the absurdity in the first place.The point that I originally made, which is a real scandal, is that Gavin is provably right: the offenders, if they plead guilty, could easily be out of jail in 7 years. That is a disgrace.

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