2:11pm Thursday 19th June 2014
AN ANTI-KNIFE campaign launched in the wake of Christina Edkins fatal stabbing has culminated in an amendment being passed in Parliament which will see second time offenders automatically jailed.
Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris, who met the tragic Halesowen schoolgirl's family after her killing, co-sponsored the amendment to the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill.
Adults convicted of possessing an illegal knife or other weapon for a second time will be sentenced to at least six months in prison and 16 and 17-year-olds will receive a youth Detention and Training Order of at least four months.
The amendment was passed by 404 votes to 53 in the House of Commons and the bill will now go before the House of Lords.
After the vote Mr Morris said he owed it to the family and friends of the 16-year-old Leasowes High School pupil to support tougher sentences on knife-crime.
He said: "I hope that the House of Lords will take notice of this overwhelming majority and make sure that this important measure becomes law as soon as possible.
“When I met with Christina Edkins’s family shortly after her death, I asked them if there was anything that I could do to help and they told me that they wanted tougher sentences to make people understand the consequences of carrying a knife."
He added: “Christina’s family, and the many police officers I have spoken to, were sure that mandatory prison sentences would reduce the number of knives on our streets.
“I was proud to be able to co-sign this amendment and am delighted that it has passed and will help to prevent other families from suffering the terrible loss of a loved one."
After meeting with Christina’s family, Mr Morris spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions to ask David Cameron to consider mandatory sentences for knife possession and recently raised the same issue with the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
On March 7 last year paranoid schizophrenic Philip Simelane, aged 23, fatally stabbed Christina Edkins on the number nine bus as she travelled to school. He had a history of knife-crime and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility and was detained indefinitely in a secure mental health facility.
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