Man who killed 20 year old girl for dressing like a goth to be released early on good behaviour after judge calls him 'exceptional'

Ryan Herbert murdered Sophie Lancaster in August 2007 during a random attack on her and her boyfriend in a park in Bacup, Lancashire.

Police attributed the attack to Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby being dressed in ‘Gothic’ clothes and being apart of the subculture.

Sophie, who was only 20 at the time, died from injuries sustained from blunt trauma after she went into a coma whilst Robert recovered from his.

According to a witness, the group of five teenage boys were seen laughing and Herbert said to them on the way out ‘there’s two moshers lying nearly dead in there.’

The five boys were later arrested and charged with murder. Two of them were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The other three were convicted and jailed for grievous bodily harm.

Ryan Herbert, one of the two who rained the decisive blows on Sophie that took her life, was handed a 16 and a half year minimum sentence, reduced to 15 and a half years on appeal.

However, due to his alleged ‘exceptional progress’, that sentence was cut down again at the High Court – to 14-and-a-half years.

According to Justice William Davis, Herbert has become a mentor and was described as ‘one of the most reliable, sensitive and conscientious students’ at the University of Cambridge – where he has taken a law course alongside uni students who are willing to learn with inmates.

The judge said: “The way in which Herbert has developed since his arrival at HMP Warren Hill some two-and-a-half years ago does amount to exceptional progress.

“The way in which he is described by the senior staff at that establishment goes significantly beyond what would be expected of any inmate making good progress.

“The material from the Learning Together programme shows extraordinary progress, even from the point reached by Herbert at the time of the review conducted (in 2016).

“This exceptional progress most certainly could not have been foreseen at the time the sentence was imposed. In 2008, Herbert was a young person whose only contribution to education was to disrupt and who saw no purpose in learning.

“In 2020 he is someone who has a profound interest in his own education and the education of others.”

Herbert could be released within the next two years as he will be eligible for parole back into the community.


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