Friends of a South Tyneside mother who was stabbed to death by her partner has taken their fight for justice to the next level.
Those left behind by the brutal killing of 23-year-old Melissa Liddle say they have been left outraged by a decision by the Crown Presecution Service (CPS) to not press ahead with a murder conviction.
Her partner Anthony Ross pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility, which was accepted by the CPSe.
Ross, 24, stabbed the mother of his two children 41 times in the home they shared in Oak Avenue, South Shields, on Mother’s Day.
An online petition, started by family friend Trevor Marshall, is calling on the judge to deliver the most severest sentence possible.
So far, it has been signed by more than 3,400 people.
Melissa is not here, so we have to speak for herTrevor Marshall
It also highlights people’s disappointment at the plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility being accepted.
They have now taken their fight to the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police and the Department for Public Prosecution – with letters being sent to both airing their concerns over the case.
Mr Marshall said: “It just seems the system is geared to the defendant and there is nothing in place for the victim’s family.
“Melissa is not here, so we have to speak for her. We don’t think the way this is going she is going to get justice.
“As far as we are concerned she was a young mum who was murdered in the most horrific way, and we can’t understand why the CPS are happy to accept the lesser plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.”
Mr Marshall says he has written to the CPS to ask for the reasoning behind the plea acceptance, but claims he has not received a response.
The friends are now hoping as many people as possible will sign the petition in a bid to have the issue raised within government.
At a court hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Paul Sloan QC ruled Ross has a mental disorder which makes him suitable for treatment at hospital.
He adjourned the case until next month so Ross’s defence team can find him a place at a suitable hospital and have him further assessed.
The judge warned that his ruling is not a final indication of what the sentence will be.
To sign the petition visit www.change.org/p/lord-chancellor-and-secretary-of-state-for-justice-the-rt-hon-michael-gove-mp-justice-for-melissa