The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP
Attorney General’s Office
23 March 2013
Dear Attorney General,
We are writing to express our concerns in relation to the sentencing of Jordan Sheard for the manslaughter of Steven Simpson. A custodial sentence of three years and six months was imposed by His Honour Judge Keen QC at Sheffield Crown Court on 21 March 2013, following a plea of guilty by the defendant. Notwithstanding the guilty plea, having examined the media coverage of the case it is our view that the sentence was unduly lenient in the circumstances.
Our concerns about the sentence imposed upon the defendant stem from the fact that the manslaughter of Steven Simpson does not appear to have been dealt with as a case motivated by hostility in accordance with section 146, Criminal Justice Act 2003. In our opinion the facts of the case quite clearly involve proven demonstrated hostility by Jordan Sheard towards Steven Simpson on the basis of both his sexual orientation and disability. It appears that, contrary to section 146, these aggravating factors were not taken into account when sentencing Jordan Sheard, nor does it seem to have been stated in open court by His Honour Judge Keen that the offence was committed in such circumstances.
Further, it appears that the only aggravating factor taken into account was the attempt by Jordan Sheard to evade apprehension by fleeing the scene of the manslaughter. We are of the view that the offence was one of deliberate and gratuitous violence and that the conduct of Jordan Sheard included elements of sadism towards and the humiliation and degradation of Steven Simpson. Significant mitigating factors justifying such a short custodial sentence are glaringly absent.
A custodial sentence of three years and six months for the manslaughter of Steven Simpson does not reflect the true gravity of the offence committed by Jordan Sheard. We therefore request that this case is referred to the Court of Appeal for consideration of the sentence imposed as unduly lenient.
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