Sophie Lancaster’s mother shares statement following decision to release Ryan Herbert

“Once again we have a justice system that fails to deliver justice"

Sophie Lancaster’s mother, Sylvia Lancaster, has released a statement following the Parole Board’s decision to release one of her daughter’s murderers, Ryan Herbert.

Sophie was 20-years-old when she was murdered in 2007 for the way she dressed and looked. She was attacked alongside her boyfriend, who survived the assault. Two people were convicted of murder, while three others were convicted for grievous bodily harm.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that one of Sophie’s killers, Ryan Herbert, will soon be released from prison following a review by the Parole Board. Herbert has served 15 years in prison so far.

In a new statement about the decision, Sylvia Lancaster said: “I’m obviously very disappointed in the result of the parole hearing.

“Once again we have a justice system that fails to deliver justice. However much progress people make in prison, they have been given their sentence in recognition of the extent of their crime.”

She continued: “The judge at the murder trial described the attack on Sophie as ‘feral’, with the attackers’ behaviour ‘savage and merciless’. Her injuries were so severe, the paramedics attending the scene could not facially distinguish if she were male or female.

“How can you bear knowing the reality of the level of violence my daughter was subjected to, and stack that up against reducing the minimum tariff because they have done well in prison?

“However they have progressed, the minimum justice for the family is them serving the sentence they were given. Her attackers may not have been given a life sentence, but I have.”

Herbert was given a life sentence for the murder along with another attacker, Brenden Harris. In 2013, Harris had his sentence increased after attacking a mental health nurse while in prison.

Three others involved in the attack received between four years and four months, and five years and ten months for grievous bodily harm.

Sophie Lancaster memorial
A memorial to Sophie Lancaster – CREDIT: Alamy

In 2014, Sylvia Lancaster was awarded an OBE for her work against hate crime.

Since her daughter’s murder, Sylvia has campaigned against hate crime by setting up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which fights prejudice against subcultures and minorities.

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