Joint enterprise campaign gains a new supporter

Toni Murphy from Rainhill, holds a photograph of her boyfriend, Gerard Childs, who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise

Toni Murphy from Rainhill, holds a photograph of her boyfriend, Gerard Childs, who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise

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A WOMAN whose partner is serving life for murder is working with Wigan mum Janet Cunliffe to campaign against the law of joint enterprise.

Toni Murphy’s partner of eight years, Gerard Childs, 29, was convicted of the murder of Jonathan Fitchett alongside Stephen Price last December.

The duo were found guilty of murdering the 22-year-old in broad daylight at a retail park in Prescot on the law of joint enterprise.

But Toni, 25, said: “The pathologist’s report suggested they were 95 per cent sure that Gerard didn’t strike the fatal blow. If they couldn’t be sure who had struck the fatal blow then, at most, it should have been manslaughter, not murder.

“I think it’s wrong that Gerard has been tarred with the same brush. That’s why I’ve started campaigning with Jengba (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association).”

Jengba was set up by Wigan mum Janet Cunliffe, whose son, Jordan, was convicted of the murder of Warrington dad Garry Newlove in 2007 - despite there being little evidence he had played any physical part in the attack.

A House of Commons select committee has now launched an inquiry into the law of joint enterprise, and, earlier this year, both Childs and Price were given hope in their bid to appeal against their convictions.

A judge at London’s Appeal Court ruled that both defendants’ cases in challenging the safety of their verdicts were “arguable”.

Toni added: “I was totally devastated when Gerard was convicted of murder. I still don’t understand how they could find him guilty because of the confusion over what happened.

“Hopefully the Government will either abolish joint enterprise or, at least, seriously reform it.

“According to the law you can be guilty of murder if you can foresee that someone else intends to cause serious harm. How is it possible to know what someone else is thinking?

“I don’t do anything now - I’ve got nothing left.”