5,000 people sign petition to keep Riley's killer in jail for rest of his life (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Online petition started over concerns Anwar Rosser will have whole life sentence reduced on appeal
An online petition to keep child killer Anwar Rosser in jail for the rest of his days has been started by the family of the four-year-old boy he savagely murdered.
They have joined forces with anti-crime group Stop the Thieves in Keighley to create a campaign opposed to former soldier Rosser’s appeal against his whole-life jail term for the murder of Riley Turner.
It has already attracted nearly 5,000 signatures in only five days since it went on the internet.
Riley’s heartbroken mum Sharon Smith has voiced her disgust that her son’s killer is appealing against his sentence and said the “vile monster” must rot in jail.
Rosser strangled Riley and stabbed him repeatedly while the boy slept at his home in Harewood Road, Bracken Bank, in January 2013.
But the Court of Appeal has decided to grant Rosser, 33, a full hearing in his bid to overturn the sentence handed down at Bradford Crown Court, where he admitted his guilt in February this year.
A spokesman for Stop the Thieves in Keighley said it was working with the family to get a change in the law to ban murderers who plead guilty from appealing against their sentences at taxpayers’ expense.
“Keighley people are disgusted that this man has been allowed to appeal and is being funded by legal aid,” a group spokesman said. “We’ve only got a few weeks until the appeal is heard – so we can’t mess about.
“Our goal is 100,000 signatures to show just how angry people are about this and hopefully make Parliament change the rules on appeals.
“It’s just wrong that legal aid should be used to support self-confessed killers like Rosser.
“We’ve already got nearly 5,000 signatures, which is brilliant.
“And we’re also going to be putting paper petitions in key points around Keighley and going door-to-door to reach people without computers.”
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “This man committed one of the most sickening crimes of modern times and was rightly sentenced to a whole-life term.
“It is incredibly disturbing for Riley’s family that Rosser has chosen to appeal and I share the widespread outrage that a full hearing will now take place.
“But I have every faith in our justice system and believe unequivocally that evil monsters such as him should remain locked away for ever more.”
When Rosser pleaded guilty to Riley’s murder, Mr Justice Coulson, branded him “an exceptionally dangerous man” who could kill another child.
The judge said the murder was a gross breach of trust of Riley’s family and told him he “must go to prison for life”.
The sentence meant he became only the 54th prisoner in the UK to be on a whole-life tariff.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that whole-life tariffs must be reviewed but the Court of Appeal in February enabled judges to continue imposing the sentences, with reviews only applicable where “exceptional circumstances” could be demon-strated.
Mohammed Ayub, senior partner at Chambers Solicitors of Bradford, which is representing Rosser, has previously stated that the ruling raised a “very important” issue regarding the legality of whole-life tariffs.
To sign the petition go to www.change.org and search for Riley Turner.