A man who was jailed after killing a teenager with a single punch on a night out in Rochdale has prompted families of victims to appeal for tougher laws on manslaughter.
Royal Marine Commando Wesley Clutterbuck, 19, died after hitting his head on the pavement in Rochdale after he was punched in the face by Reece Kay.
Kay received a four-year sentence after being found guilty but Wesley’s mother Sara Whitworth wants to see tougher punishments for those guilty of manslaughter.
She said: “The justice system has to change and it’s down to the politicians not the judges or the courtroom, they have to follow guidelines for sentencing.
“Until it affects one of them directly, they won’t change it and so young kids can go out and do what they want and can get two years in prison for killing someone but that’s not the right message to send out.”
Miss Whitworth feels that without the correct sentencing in place, youths will struggle to gain an understanding of how their actions can impact others.
“People know they will get slap on the wrist and that is it, but it is not, they killed somebody and they should spare their life for what they have done and until politicians change sentencing there will be loads of cases like this,” she said.
“There is no deterrent for someone this weekend to go out and hit somebody because they will think ‘I’ll only get two years in prison’.
“It was the fact that all of Wesley’s friends who are young adults were in that courtroom sitting down looking to somebody like that judge on the justice system for guidance, to look for what’s right and what’s wrong.”
She added that until change takes place the country will remain a dangerous place as criminals will be back on the streets.
“Kay will be back on the streets in a few years and it puts Wesley’s family and friends in a highly stressful and emotional situation with untold consequences for both parties.”
“But if anyone who knows Wesley does attack him they’ll go to prison longer than what he has done for killing Wesley so putting him back on streets and giving him two years, it’s not enough, it doesn’t make people look at the justice system and think it’s fair.
“But the justice system, being as it is, will turn round and give harsher sentences to people if they did that and protect him, he’ll be more protected than the rest of Wes’s family and friends.”
Miss Whitworth is working closely with Dave Vanham who lost close friend PC Chris Findley in January after he was punched and knocked unconscious.
Chris, 33, battled to stay alive but died 10 days after the attack.
Despite failed attempts to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal, Mr Vanham agrees that the Government must put themselves in the shoes of the victims’ families.
He said: “It’s been a devastating year and the sentencing is a joke, those in power don’t realise the impact it has on families and friends.
“People are put away for longer for far less; the value on life is so small.
“I’m so angry and frustrated, I can’t live the rest of my life with this anger so I try and channel my energy to something I can try and change.”
Yet, through their heartache, Miss Whitworth and Mr Vanham are hopeful they can help make the public more aware of the problem.
Miss Whitworth said: “Dave and I are trying to make the young ones think about what they do when they go out because the current sentencing is minimal.”
Rochdale police are using Wesley as the face of their Christmas campaign against drinking and violence in the Rochdale area.
The former Royal Marine’s memory will also be used to front Salford Royal’s campaign to increase the number of organ donors as Wesley’s were donated.