Emma Lewell-Buck MP: We need legislation so ‘One Punch Manslaughter’ will carry a minimum sentence of seven years
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Taking away a loved one from their family, friends and all who knew them forever.
Whilst it is accepted there is a concerning rise in one punch attacks across the UK, no official figures exist in relation to the lives lost and the lives devastated by a single punch.
What we do know is that almost every time a precious life is taken this way, it is reported the perpetrator was intoxicated and their sentence for taking the life of another is almost always lenient.
The increased awareness we have of the fatal consequences that one punch can have is because of my constituent and friend in South Shields, Maxine Thompson-Curl, who, along with her husband Anthony Curl, set up One Punch UK after the tragic death of her precious son Kristian from a single punch.
Kristian suffered from a catastrophic brain injury after a night out – he passed away aged 19-years-old.
Using her pain and experience Maxine has been relentless in asking people to “stop, think and walk away”, instead of using their fists.
The charity raises awareness, supports families and campaigns for tougher sentences.
Because for ‘one punch assaults’ there is no minimum sentence – some have walked away after just four months in prison, that’s just four months for taking someone’s life.
For devastating their loved ones, ruining their lives as well.
In the coming months there is an opportunity to change the legislation to create a specific offence of ‘One Punch Manslaughter’ that will carry a minimum sentence of seven years, similar to laws in Australia, with consideration given to those acting in self-defence.
This would put an end to lenient sentences and hopefully act as a deterrent, so people do think and walk away before using their fists.
To lose a loved one in such a senseless way at a young age when they were simply on a night out is a pain I and most of us simply couldn’t imagine.
I hope everyone will join me in supporting Maxine and Anthony so we can make this change.