Monday, September 18, 2006
Pamela's killer could be out in less than FIVE years!
What is a life worth in the eyes of the law?
Pamela Phinn always looked too young to be a grandmother, her sisters never looked older than teenagers, her daughter too. She was a smashing lady who touched all of her friends and colleagues with her warmth and cheery personality. The circumstances surrounding her death were tragic and bizarre in the extreme. So, it should not surprise that as this tale comes it's sad conclusion the bizarre element continues.
Paul Wales (pictured) 47, of Gorst Street, Walton, in Liverpool, was in hiding in South Shields from a drug debt when he decided to carjack a lady near the DJ Tool Hire shop in Victoria Road, with the intention of getting his hands on more drugs. He threatened her with a screwdriver before stealing her Honda Civic and driving off at speed up Westoe Road. Unusually an unmarked police vehicle saw the event and gave pursuit, joined shortly by a standard marked police car, as Wales drew dangerously close to Westoe Roundabout. Apparently driving at speeds of around 80 mph he mounted the kerb as he turned the corner, hit a pedestrian refuge and a wall before colliding with a group of people with dreadfull results.
That group of people were Pamela Phinn, her daughter-in-law Kelly Laws, and her two grandchildren, Pamela had tried to push the children's pushchair out of the path of the crazed driver, however she took the full force of the impact and was thrown twenty feet through the air. She was killed almost instantly. Her daughter-in-law and grandchildren also received severe injuries which hospitalized them for some time. Bizarrely, the car was stolen from Pamela's sister Dianne Dalton, who was to learn of the tragic consequences soon afterwards.
Today, at Newcastle Crown Court, Wales was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge John Milford QC, who bizarrely said that Wales would have to serve a minimum of four years and four months before being considered eligable for parole.
"You will be imprisoned indefinitely and you will be eligible for release when you have served the minimum term, but only when the parole board deem you safe",
So, if he keeps his nose clean and expresses some remorse, he will be back on the streets in less than five years (taking into account the time he has already served on remand.) He has already taken good counsel and pleaded guilty, he even mouthed the word "sorry" towards the public gallery in court, his hopes must be fairly high. He goes to prison holding on to some prospect of an early release.
As for Pamela's family, their life sentence began in May 2006, and for them it's a sentence from which they cannot escape.
Why should it be that some of our senior Judges pass sentences that, for most of us, do not reflect the severity of the crime? Yes, I know it's an indeterminate life sentence, but the minimum tarriff might have been more substantial in order to strengthen the view that some people are being "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".
The Home Office, however, regards our prisons as being overcrowded and are working tirelessly to ensure that fewer people are being imprisoned. They would be far better employed building one or two more high security establishments that could house inmates for a minimum of twenty years, that way we could begin to believe that a life sentence almost meant just that! I'm sure there would be no protests from the law abiding majority from such expenditure.
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