(Image: PA)

Mother Confronts Harsh Reality of Daughter’s Killer on Tragic Birthday Anniversary

On what would have been her daughter Ellie Gould’s 22nd birthday, a heartbroken mother shared a poignant reflection on the grim reality of the justice system regarding her daughter’s killer. Ellie, a 17-year-old aspiring police officer and A-level student, was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Griffiths, also 17, in a savage attack at her home in Calne, Wiltshire, on May 3, 2019. After Ellie decided to end their three-month relationship, Griffiths responded with unthinkable violence, strangling her before inflicting 13 fatal stab wounds to her neck.

Griffiths was subsequently tried and found guilty of murder, with Bristol Crown Court sentencing him in November 2019 to life imprisonment, setting a minimum term of 12-and-a-half years before he could be considered for parole. The court’s decision was constrained by Griffiths’ age, which legally exempted him from receiving a whole-life sentence.

On Ellie’s birthday, her mother took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express her anguish and disbelief at the prospect of Griffiths potentially being transferred to an open prison with day-release privileges in just four years. Accompanying her post was a touching photo of Ellie celebrating a previous birthday, highlighting the stark contrast between her daughter’s lost future and her killer’s impending freedoms, according to The Mirror.

Ellie’s parents have since become vocal advocates for systemic change, challenging the perceived leniency in sentencing for young offenders and domestic murder cases. They argue that the justice system undervalues the lives of victims murdered within the home compared to those killed in public settings.

The Mirror’s “Justice for our Daughters” campaign echoes the Goulds’ call for reform, advocating for domestic violence murderers to face sentences comparable to those handed down for other forms of murder. The campaign underscores a broader societal issue where domestic violence victims, often women, seem to be regarded as less significant than victims of street violence, typically men.

The current legal framework often results in shorter minimum sentences for domestic murderers, partly because the weapon used is usually found within the home, not brought to the scene. This distinction leads to a starting point of 15 years for calculating minimum sentences, as opposed to 25 years for murders committed outside the home.

Ellie’s mother, Carole, alongside Julie Devey, whose daughter Poppy Devey Waterhouse was also a victim of domestic murder, has founded the action group “Killed Women.” Together, they are pressing the government to reconsider the sentencing guidelines for domestic murders, advocating for a uniform 25-year minimum sentence for all murders involving a weapon, barring gun-related crimes which already carry a minimum term of 30 years.

The campaign has sparked a public consultation, inviting citizens to voice their support for these proposed legal changes. The initiative seeks not only to honor the memories of Ellie, Poppy, and countless others but also to ensure a more equitable and just response from the legal system to the tragedy of domestic murder.

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