Sophie Lancaster killer to be released after serving 15 years of life sentence
In 2020, a judge said he had made 'exceptional progress' in jail
Ryan Herbert, the murderer who kicked Sophie Lancaster to death in 2007 because she was dressed like a Goth, has been released from prison after 15 years.
Herbert was jailed for life in 2008 for killing Lancaster in a park in Bacup, Lancashire. He and a friend, Brendan Harris, had attacked Lancaster and her boyfriend for dressing like Goths.
The Parole Board has decided though that Herbert, now 30, can be released on license, the BBC reports.
Lancaster's mother, Sylvia, said that his release was another example of a "justice system that fails to deliver justice."
Herbert was 16 when he and Harris attacked Lancaster whilst she cradled the head of her already-beaten-up boyfriend in a park in Lancashire.
The attack was so horrific that paramedics who arrived at the scene were unable to tell which sex either of the victims was.
Lancaster died two weeks after the attack in August 2007, after never regaining consciousness. She was 20 years old.
Herbert was given a life sentence and a minimum term of 16 years after pleading guilty to her murder and grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to his attack on her boyfriend Robert Maltby.
But on appeal, the minimum term was reduced to 15-and-a-half years.
It was then cut by a year in 2020 when a High Court judge decided Herbert had made "exceptional progress" in jail.
The Parole Board has now decided to release Herbert, ruling that he had made "significant changes to his life which reflected his remorse, his insight, and increased maturity."
In a document explaining the decision, the board said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending and examining the evidence for the progress made while in custody, the panel was satisfied that Mr Herbert was suitable for release."
It added that whilst his behaviour had "initially been poor," this improved once he moved to an adult prison and took part in rehabilitation.
After moving to an open prison in November 2020, Herbert had studied to a "degree level," "fully engaged with resettlement activities," and "had good working relationships with personal staff."
Harris was found guilty of Lancaster's murder in the same year as Herbert and admitted the attack on her boyfriend Robert Maltby as well. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years and remains behind bars.
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