A long and sickening chapter drew to a close at the end of last week when a senior judge finally ruled that the teenagers behind the brutal murders of Elizabeth Edwards and her daughter Katie could be named.
Of course many in Spalding already knew who they were and what their relationship was to their poor victims. But many didn’t know and it was right that this toxic couple – just 14 at the time – be identified. Justice has to be done but it also has to be seen to be done.
Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham were old enough and cunning enough to plot the deaths of Kim’s caring mother and beautiful little sister and they deserved to be punished as much as our laws allow.
When a crown court judge jailed them for life last year, with a recommendation they serve at least 20 years (the maximum sentence for their ages) many thought the law was not tough enough, that the sentences should be longer.
So it was with dismay that many of us greeted the news that the minimum sentences were cut to 17-and-a-half years. I cannot begin to even imagine what the family have been going through or what they think now.
It was as if the appeal court judge served the interests of justice in one hand by ruling they could be named but then took it away with the other by handing them the opportunity of an earlier release date.
The reason given by the judge for slashing the jail terms was that they had not been given enough credit for the admissions they made to police. Is admitting the crimes and telling, coldy and without regret how you carried them out, worth 30 months off a jail term?
Markham and Edwards could be out in their early 30s, able to look ahead and plan the kind of lives many don’t think they should have. Meanwhile a caring mother and her daughter will always be dead.
They could be out in their early 30s, able to look ahead and plan the kind of lives many don’t think they should have. Meanwhile a caring mother and her daughter will forever be dead.