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Nationwide Tour in Plea to Save Victims from 'Failing' Criminal Justice System

May 2005

The Victims of Crime Trust will continue its nationwide tour in Southbourne, Bournemouth on Tuesday 24th May in a plea for more resources for crime victims. Taking in every major city in Britain, the tour is in support of a phone petition launched in March designed to highlight just how badly the Criminal Justice System is failing victims, as well as to provide practical support for them by raising three million pounds.

‘This Government is masking the alarming truth about crime in this country,’ said Norman Brennan, Director of the Victims of Crime Trust. ‘Homicide has reached an average of 1,000 per year over the past five years. In the same period, recorded incidents of violence against the person are up 90% from 502,788 to 955,752. An average of 423 firearms offences are committed each week in England and Wales; and there were 11,700 rapes recorded by the police last year - although Home Office research indicates the true figure could be as high as 47,000. Surely, this begs the question, how bad does it have to get before the Government finally acts?’

The Trust is supported by a large number of families of homicide victims who they will meet during their tour, including Denise Fergus, mother of James Bulger (Liverpool), Victor Bates who’s wife Marion was shot dead (Nottingham), Jayne and Paul Walmsley, parents of murdered 14 year old schoolboy Luke (Lincoln), and June Richardson, the mother of Martin Brown, murdered by Mary Bell (Newcastle).

The tour will be visiting Southbourne where Norman Brennan will be giving a press statement whilst meeting families bereaved through homicide, such as John Berry, whose son was murdered by being thrown into the river, 9th June 2004 and; Robert Hussey, whose daughter Natalie was murdered by her husband. The petition is supported by Bournecoast Ltd., a local Southbourne business committed to helping this Trust establish this important Resource Centre. Keith Simmons, Director of Bournecoast Ltd, urged local residents and businesses to back this unique and challenging project by pledging their total support. He adds, “We are so lucky to live here. Having personally witnessed, the major transformations families bereaved through homicide can achieve from respite breaks spent in Southbourne and Bournemouth - away from the painful memories and traumatised community where such murders took place - I know how essential and beneficial this Resource Centre’ will be to everyone”.

The launch began at Charing Cross railway station at 10am on 13th April 2005 with the support of Sara Payne, mother of murdered schoolgirl,Sarah Payne and; Antoinette Rodney, mother of teenager Keiran Rodney-Davis, stabbed to death in Fulham, London for his baseball cap.

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