Family of murdered pensioner 'outraged' at judge's comments about victim statements

OUTRAGED: Sandha Robertson with a picture of her former mother-in-law, Mary Robertson

OUTRAGED: Sandha Robertson with a picture of her former mother-in-law, Mary Robertson

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

THE family of a Bradford pensioner whose killer is due before the Parole Board say they are "outraged and worried" after a judge in a separate case claimed victim statements do not make any difference.

Mary Robertson was stabbed to death by prostitute Jane Pauline Cawley at the home of her lifelong friend Nora Stannard in Church Street, Manningham, on Boxing Day in 1998.

Mrs Stannard was also stabbed and had her throat slashed, but survived.

Cawley admitted murder and wounding with intent and was jailed for life in November 1999.

She is expected to go before the Parole Board today after Mrs Robertson's daughter-in-law Sandha, of Wibsey, and other family members wrote a personal victim statement to be read out at the hearing.

But, at a separate Parole Board hearing, Geraldine and Peter McGinty, whose son Colin was stabbed to death 13 years ago in Merseyside, claimed to have overheard Judge Graham White make the comments about victims' statements not making a difference in a conversation with lawyers.

The 21-year-old's parents said they were heartbroken to hear the comments made over the video link, after submitting a statement as the killers applied to be transferred to open prisons.

Now Sandha Robertson fears Judge White's view is a general one and victims' statements are disregarded.

She said: "I'm absolutely outraged.

"It's like the families don't count, just the criminals. I'm so mad and frustrated.

"I couldn't believe I was hearing it. It just adds salt in the wounds. How can the family statements be disregarded. What's the point in having the written statements? The system needs reviewing.

"The judge has been caught out but was speaking the truth.

"Somebody has to stand up for us, all of the innocent victims.

"I'm very worried by this. It means we are being cast aside.

"It's not very easy to try to explain your feelings to the Parole Board.

"The victims should be heard. Our views should be counted and should not be pushed to one side."

Judge White said he was sorry for the impact his comments, which he said were made in a "private conversation", had had on Mr McGinty's family, but added that while the statements had an impact, they cannot affect the parole board's judgement of the prisoner's risk.

Parole Board chairman Sir David Calvert-Smith said there would be an investigation into the judge's comments.

And Lady Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner, whose husband Garry was kicked to death in Warrington in 2007 by a gang vandalising his car, said: "It truly saddens me to hear of another family not treated with basic humanity and respect.

"Victims pour their hearts into these statements to make sure they do their loved ones the best possible justice, they should never be dismissed like this."

Comments (9)

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8:49am Wed 6 Aug 14

claret or green ? says...

Sadly victims do not really matter to the Criminal Justice System. They would have you believe otherwise, but it is all about saving money and giving the perpetrator opportunities the victim will never have.
Sadly victims do not really matter to the Criminal Justice System. They would have you believe otherwise, but it is all about saving money and giving the perpetrator opportunities the victim will never have. claret or green ?
  • Score: 12

9:13am Wed 6 Aug 14

llos25 says...

As above ,the law system is not there for any form of justice but to keep people employed at high rates of pay.If the system had any regard to what the people thought then crime would drop alarmingly and that would not do for the people who earn a good living from crime.
As above ,the law system is not there for any form of justice but to keep people employed at high rates of pay.If the system had any regard to what the people thought then crime would drop alarmingly and that would not do for the people who earn a good living from crime. llos25
  • Score: 10

11:03am Wed 6 Aug 14

Idlesteve says...

Sadly judges are usually arrogant,high earning, public schooled puppets who have limited authority and a remit to tick governmental boxes which give the perpetrator more benefits than the victims. At least this judge was honest, just wish judges would speak out publicly about how they feel and try and change this vile system they call justice.
Sadly judges are usually arrogant,high earning, public schooled puppets who have limited authority and a remit to tick governmental boxes which give the perpetrator more benefits than the victims. At least this judge was honest, just wish judges would speak out publicly about how they feel and try and change this vile system they call justice. Idlesteve
  • Score: 5

1:23pm Wed 6 Aug 14

northern pig says...

We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement!
We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement! northern pig
  • Score: 3

3:30pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Farsley Bantam says...

northern pig wrote:
We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement!
And these 'third world countries' are crime free utopias presumably?
[quote][p][bold]northern pig[/bold] wrote: We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement![/p][/quote]And these 'third world countries' are crime free utopias presumably? Farsley Bantam
  • Score: 4

5:15pm Wed 6 Aug 14

northern pig says...

Farsley Bantam wrote:
northern pig wrote:
We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement!
And these 'third world countries' are crime free utopias presumably?
I confess, i could have put it better. So here goes, I believe in an eye for an eye,a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life.
[quote][p][bold]Farsley Bantam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]northern pig[/bold] wrote: We should be like some 'third world countries' where the family of the murdered person decide if they want to have the convicted perpetrator of the crime put to death. Never mind a victim statement![/p][/quote]And these 'third world countries' are crime free utopias presumably?[/p][/quote]I confess, i could have put it better. So here goes, I believe in an eye for an eye,a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life. northern pig
  • Score: 4

7:17am Fri 8 Aug 14

claret or green ? says...

I sometimes think of that poor Indian student who was randomly shot dead in Manchester by the local lad, wanting to show his mates he was " a tough gangster ".....he'll be enjoying his taxpayer funded 3 meals a day and warm bed somewhere around the country. A better sentence would have been to pass sentencing jurisdiction to the court of the victims family, deport him to India and let the local court decide his fate in consultation with that poor lady's family..... saying UK PLC a lot of bother and finance in the process.
I sometimes think of that poor Indian student who was randomly shot dead in Manchester by the local lad, wanting to show his mates he was " a tough gangster ".....he'll be enjoying his taxpayer funded 3 meals a day and warm bed somewhere around the country. A better sentence would have been to pass sentencing jurisdiction to the court of the victims family, deport him to India and let the local court decide his fate in consultation with that poor lady's family..... saying UK PLC a lot of bother and finance in the process. claret or green ?
  • Score: 1

8:17am Fri 8 Aug 14

sandha says...

Hi Please can I ask you to sign our petition that says victims have voices, please ask everyone you know to go online and sign its at change,org or facebook, we need to share this, please support us
Hi Please can I ask you to sign our petition that says victims have voices, please ask everyone you know to go online and sign its at change,org or facebook, we need to share this, please support us sandha
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Fri 8 Aug 14

claret or green ? says...

claret or green ? wrote:
I sometimes think of that poor Indian student who was randomly shot dead in Manchester by the local lad, wanting to show his mates he was " a tough gangster ".....he'll be enjoying his taxpayer funded 3 meals a day and warm bed somewhere around the country. A better sentence would have been to pass sentencing jurisdiction to the court of the victims family, deport him to India and let the local court decide his fate in consultation with that poor lady's family..... saying UK PLC a lot of bother and finance in the process.
should read the poor lad's family
[quote][p][bold]claret or green ?[/bold] wrote: I sometimes think of that poor Indian student who was randomly shot dead in Manchester by the local lad, wanting to show his mates he was " a tough gangster ".....he'll be enjoying his taxpayer funded 3 meals a day and warm bed somewhere around the country. A better sentence would have been to pass sentencing jurisdiction to the court of the victims family, deport him to India and let the local court decide his fate in consultation with that poor lady's family..... saying UK PLC a lot of bother and finance in the process.[/p][/quote]should read the poor lad's family claret or green ?
  • Score: 0

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