Murder victim's mum backs law change

EXCLUSIVEBy James HoreTHE mother of a man who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack has backed a call for knife crimes to be treated as seriously as gun offences.

EXCLUSIVE

By James Hore

THE mother of a man who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack has backed a call for knife crimes to be treated as seriously as gun offences.

Joan Westmore's son, Piers, died a year ago after he was stabbed in a cold-blooded knife attack that left a seven-inch wound to his heart and lungs.


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Speaking yesterday, on the anniversary of her 31-year-old son's death, Mrs Westmore said her family had been given the real life sentence, while her son's killer could walk free from prison in 14 years' time.

Dean Martin, 25, stabbed Piers Westmore, a father-of-three, in the back in a street in Witham and left him to die.

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Martin, branded a “coward” by the Westmore family, told police he could not even remember taking a man's life because he had been drinking too much.

A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court took less than an hour in August to unanimously find Martin, formerly of Holly Walk, Witham, guilty of murder.

He was jailed for life, but will serve a minimum term of 14 years and four months before being considered for release. After that he will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

Speaking on the day that her son's ashes had been interned, Mrs Westmore, from Witham, said she supported the call for an overhaul of the punishments for people caught carrying knives in public.

“Piers' death should never have happened, for a 31-year-old with three kids. That killer left three children without a father,” she added.

“We will never be the same family again because he was such a character, always laughing and joking and up to all kinds of giggles.

“For me, knifes are worse than guns because the kids go around with them in their pockets. It is all wrong, that is why I am all for the changes to the law.”

Her comments came as Prime Minister Tony Blair signalled there would be tougher action on knife crime.

Devastated relatives of stabbing victims travelled to 10 Downing Street on Monday to make an emotional plea for a change in the law.

They demanded a five-year minimum jail term for carrying a blade longer than three inches, the same as for a gun.

Mr Blair said yesterday: “There are a few other things we need to do as well because actually one of the problems is not just with children, but with adults carrying knives.

“You now get a mandatory five-year sentence if you carry a gun andAnd I think some of these people are switching to knives, which is why we are now looking at how do you make that tougher.”

But for Mrs Westmore and her family no sentence would be enough to take away the pain they felt a year on from their son's senseless killing.

She added: “At one time it used to be that life meant getting at least 25 years. A life is a life and that man took my son's life and I think it should be an eye for an eye.”

At the trial, the jury heard Martin had been drinking throughout the day before inviting himself into a private party at the Crown Pub in Guithavon Street, Witham, where Piers Westmore had been celebrating a friend's birthday.

After rowing and upsetting a number of guests, Martin left the party only to return later when he saw Mr Westmore, of Osbert Road, Witham, and his long-term partner, Michelle, walking with a group of people towards a taxi rank.

Martin ran up and plunged what was likely to have been a knife into Mr Westmore's back.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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