We looked at the case of Chris Parker, the ‘hero’ of the Manchester bombings, who pleaded guilty in early January 2018 to stealing a purse and a phone from the victims of the attack and later using one of the cards that he had stolen.
Looking at the theft and fraud guidelines, we had said a sentence of up to 2 years after a trial could be coming. It was clear that the sentence would be much higher than the guidelines would suggest because of the circumstances of the theft.
We didn’t think it would be quite as high as it was however – Mr Parker was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months.
The latest reports do add a little more detail; there two separate thefts from different people – an iPhone from a teenager and a purse from Pauline Healey who’s granddaughter died in the attack. He used a care from Ms Healey’s purse in a local McDonalds.
We do not have the full sentencing remarks, but the Judge is reported as saying “because of the extraordinary nature of the case there is an argument to say that the ordinary guidelines for theft should not apply. […] this case demonstrates exceptional circumstances.”
The news reports also contain the Victim Impact Statement from Ms Healey and it is, unsurprisingly, profoundly moving.
So, although the sentence passed is more than we would have thought, given the background to it, it was a case where the Sentencing Guidelines go out the window. We would expect an appeal, but we doubt that it will be successful.