Monday, June 13, 2005



For a while after Geoff's death, news reports stopped having much effect on me. I know I'm coming to terms with it now, because I just saw something from the London Evening Standard that made me (a) despair, and (b) feel very glad that my family lives in the USA where although you may not believe it, the courts still aim to protect law-abiding citizens from vicious criminals.

Park killer has sentence reduced
13 June 2005

A paranoid schizophrenic who killed a former banker in a vicious knife attack has had his minimum sentence cut by half.

John Barrett repeatedly stabbed 50-year-old Denis Finnegan with a kitchen knife after ambushing him as he cycled through Richmond Park, south-west London. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey in March after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said he would have to serve at least 15-and-a-half years before he would be considered for release on licence. But it is understood that the judge reviewed the tariff and brought the case back to court for a private hearing within 28 days, where he cut it to seven years.


So, in London, 2005, you can viciously stab a stranger to death as he innocently enjoys a bike ride, and you will be eligible for parole in seven years.
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