Petition launched against ‘pathetic’ sentence

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A CAMPAIGN has been launched to keep a Wigan man’s killer behind bars for longer.

Furious relatives and friends of Francis Farrell have described the three-year manslaughter sentence handed down to David Horner (pictured) as “pathetic”.

And they have now launched a petition which will form part of their argument for extending the assailant’s jail term.

The 56-year-old victim from Beech Hill was walking home from town last June 17 when he was viciously attacked.

He was found collapsed on Frog Lane and never regained consciousness. He died three days later.

Horner, 23, from Scholes, admitted manslaughter when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court in December and Mr Farrell’s loved ones say they were shocked, stunned and hurt by the “leniency” of the punishment.

The hearing heard that Horner, who had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs, approached Mr Farrell requesting a cigarette.

When he refused, Horner punched him in the face resulting in him falling backwards and hitting the ground with a “terrible, sickening crack.”

A family friend of the Farrells has now gone about setting up an official petition, which has been backed by relatives and Wigan’s MP LIsa Nandy, against the sentence.

Joe Charnock, who had known Mr Farrell since he was young and has connections with the family having known them all his life, says he was disgusted by Horner’s jail term and is appealing to the Wigan public and further afield communities to sign the petition.

He said: “I thought it was disgrace; three years which could be 18 months on good behaviour is nothing – especially when you compare it with some of the other sentences for other crimes.

“I was brought up with all the Farrells so I’ve known them for quite a long time; Francis was an absolutely cracking lad.

“When I saw the sentencing I thought it was pathetic. Working with kids you advise them that discipline is needed in life and if you do wrong you pay the penalty and take it like a man.

“But how do you answer them when they see a sentence like this and ask where is that punishment?

“What this person did, simply because he wasn’t given a cigarette, is disgusting and he deserves a lot more than what he got.

“Although I’ve used Francis as the focus of the petition, I hope it can make a difference on a bigger scale and sentences like this can be looked at more thoroughly in the future. It’s aimed to have a long term effect.”

Mr Charnock contacted Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who has thrown her support behind the petition.

She said: “I am very concerned about the length of this sentence, which seems extremely short given the seriousness of the offence.

“I have written to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General to ask them to look again at this case and its outcome.

“Given the immense distress the family continues to suffer, I have asked them to treat it as a priority.”

The petition can be viewed and signed by visiting