Feb 20 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
AN AUGHTON mum whose 22-year-old son was killed in a brutal knife attack has welcomed the decision to maintain life sentences for murderers.
Gaynor Bell’s son Steffan was stabbed to death in 2000 in Skelmersdale by Colin Eedle during a drunken rage.
Eedle, who comes from a well known south Liverpool family, was found guilty of murder in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison.
The trial judge, His Honour Judge Openshaw QC, recommended that he should serve 14 years before he was eligible for release.
However back in October last year it transpired that Eedle was granted a home release from prison and had returned to an address in Liverpool for the day.
Gaynor said: “I believe 100% that the Court of Appeal’s decision is the right one.
“When members of the public hear that someone has been sentenced to life in prison that’s what they believe they get but it is often not the case.
“When Eedle was sentenced the maximum term he could get was 15 years which seemed ridiculous, it’s gone up now but in my opinion life should mean life.”
Steffan was murdered when Gaynor was still coming to terms with the loss of her eldest son Adam, who was killed in a road accident in Spain.
In 2009 Eedle applied to the High Court for early release from prison following the completion of his minimum term.
During the hearing it was established that Eedle had been involved in several prison fights and damaged property in jail.
Gaynor said: “Eedle is still young enough to have a family and get married, he can still enjoy his life and I think that is wrong. Every day I think of my sons, and now it is worse knowing this man is going to have a life. Steffan also has a son and he lives without his dad.”
Under current law, whole-life sentences can be given for "exceptionally" serious offences. They prevent criminals from ever being eligible for a parole review or release, unless at the discretion of the justice secretary.
Gaynor said: “These whole-life terms are reserved only for the most brutal murderers such as child killers and those who kill police officers but Steffan was still my child, even at 22, we shouldn’t categorise by age, murder is still murder and should be treated as such.”