Murder teen mum hails ‘fresh hope’

Janet Cunliffe
Janet Cunliffe
  • Mum claims son is a victim of injustice
  • He is serving a life sentence for his part in brutal killing of Garry Newlove
  • Case under review by Criminal Cases Review Commission

A CAMPAIGNING Wigan mum whose son is serving life for murder says she has been given “fresh hope” that his conviction will be downgraded.

Pemberton-born Janet Cunliffe was in London’s Criminal Appeals Court last week to see two murder convictions in what she described as “a very similar case” reduced to manslaughter and affray.

Jordan is doing life for murder because he is supposed to have foreseen what was about to occur

Janet Cunliffe

Gerard Childs and Stephen Price, 30, were cleared of murdering Jonathan Fitchett - 14 months after they were both convicted under the law of joint enterprise.

Childs’ partner, Toni Murphy, is a campaigner for Mrs Cunliffe’s Jengba campaign group.

Mrs Cunliffe, who testified before the Government’s justice select committee last year, claims her son, Jordan, one of three people convicted of the murder of Warrington dad Garry Newlove, is a victim of injustice.

She said: “The judges said that, in the Childs and Price case, the anticipation of a violent incident did not constitute a plan. Jordan is doing life for murder because he is supposed to have foreseen what was about to occur. It was a terrible tragedy but when people face the possibility of life imprisonment, it’s high stakes. It’s crucial prosecutors get the charges right.”

Three top judges ruled that Childs and Price’s convictions – following a brutal but spontaneous 15-second fight – were “unsafe”.

Their lawyers successfully argued that jurors could not have been sure the duo had the necessary intent for murder, or that they had both agreed on the attack, before Childs, 29, landed the first punch.

Allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Davis said: “In the circumstances, we feel compelled to quash the conviction of Price, and in Childs’ case, we quash his conviction for murder and substitute a conviction for manslaughter.

“It would be little short of a travesty if Price was not to be convicted of anything, given his undoubted involvement in the serious violence which occurred and in which he played a full part.

“In his case, we substitute a conviction for affray.”

Janet Cunliffe’s son, Jordan, was given a life sentence for his part in the brutal killing of Mr Newlove in 2007 despite there being little evidence that the then 16-year-old touched him.

He was sentenced because he was part of the group that killed Mr Newlove and because he did nothing to prevent the crime.

Mrs Cunliffe says this was unfair because the onslaught was over in a matter of seconds and so there was little time to thwart it and also because her son is partially-sighted.

His case is currently being reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.