The family of murdered four-year-old Riley Turner has been overwhelmed by public support for a petition aimed at keeping his killer behind bars for the rest of his life.

Nearly 7,000 people have now signed the petition, which urges the Government to consider that life imprisonment should mean what it says in the case of Anwar Rosser.

That means it can now be presented to the Ministry of Justice, but the family has pledged to keep fighting to try and reach the target of 100,000 signatures which would allow the petition to be put before the House of Commons to be considered for a change in the law.

Former soldier Rosser, 33, was given a whole life sentence - meaning he must spend the rest of his life in prison - earlier this year for the savage murder of twin Riley, who was stabbed repeatedly in his bed at his home in Bracken Bank, Keighley.

Mr Justice Coulson described Rosser as an exceptionally dangerous man who could kill another child.

But Rosser lodged an appeal against the whole life tariff. The appeal will be heard within the next four weeks.

Riley's family started an online petition - supported by the anti-crime group Stop the Thieves in Keighley - two weeks ago, to oppose Rosser's appeal. It already has nearly 6,000 signatures. A paper petition has got 1,000 signatures in its first week.

A spokesman for Stop the Thieves in Keighley said Riley's family was overwhelmed by the support and wanted to express its thanks.

The spokesman added: "We are really encouraged with how the petition is going. We needed 5,000 signatures to be allowed to present it to the Ministry of Justice, and we have passed that. The family will present it on the day of the Court of Appeal hearing.

"We will keep going indefinitely so that if and when we reach 100,000 it can go to the House of Commons."

She said members of the public could further help out by getting copies of the paper petition from collection points and gathering signatures themselves.

The main collection point is at Jackie's Cafe, outside Keighley rail station, but there are others at the Shirley Thompson paper shop, Braithwaite Ring; Bracken Bank stores; Southams store in Long Lee; Roy Dykes butchers and Market Pantry, both in Keighley Market; and at stores in Cullingworth. There are also collection points at all the supermarkets in Keighley.

People can also download the petition on iPhones from apps on flyers on shop windows.