Parents enraged over mild sentences given to teenage daughter’s killers

Thomas Griffiths
Thomas Griffiths

THE grieving parents of a teen girl murdered by a sadistic schoolboy after she dumped him are fighting for tougher sentences for young killers.

Ellie Gould, 17, was knifed at least 13 times by jilted Thomas Griffiths, 18, in her family home in Calne, Wilts, in May last year.

Ellie Gould
Ellie Gould

She was discovered in a pool of blood by her dad Matthew after Griffiths snapped when Ellie rejected his pleas to get back together.

But the killer, who admitted murder, was jailed for life with a minimum of just 12 years and six months.

Dad Matthew and Ellie’s mum Carole have now slammed the sentence, which could see Griffiths back roaming the streets by the time he is 30.


They told The Sun Online: “Twelve and a half years for murder – that’s the value our criminal justice system puts on a young girl’s life.

“We don’t believe we have been given justice for the brutal murder of our daughter in our own home, while she sat revising for exams.

“The motive of the offender – he couldn’t take rejection. He is a dangerous, violent, controlling individual who should never be released from prison as he is a danger to society and particularly women.”

In a devastating blow for the family, they have received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office telling them the case will not be sent to the Court of Appeal to try to get the sentence increased.

The letter – seen by The Sun Online – says it is likely it will not be increased as it “does not meet the threshold of being unduly lenient”.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a child is deemed fit to stand trial at the age of ten – with the minimum sentence for an under-18 convicted of murder just 12 years.

They are able to apply for parole up to three years before the minimum term finishes – meaning most monsters can be released the day after they have served 12 years.

Here, The Sun Online reveals the grisly cast of Britain’s youngest killers – and when they are due to be released for their brutal crimes.

Thomas Griffiths

On May 3 this year, depraved Griffiths slaughtered Ellie in her home in Wiltshire as she sat revising for her exams using a knife from her own kitchen.

The monster then drove back home and disposed of a number of items in the woods before calmly going back to school.

He had shared a selfie with pals claiming he had been “scratching” himself due to the stress he was under to explain injuries he had received as Ellie desperately tried to fight back.

She was discovered “face down in a pool of blood, with the knife in her neck” by her horrified dad Matthew.

Chillingly, Griffiths had tried to cover up the crime – putting his ex’s hand on the knife to make it look like she had killed herself.

Griffiths, who had snapped when Ellie dumped him to concentrate on her studies, then spun a web of lies to cover up his gruesome crime.

Ellie herself had demanded proper punishment for young killers in an essay written just weeks before she was slaughtered, The Sun revealed.

The teen, who wanted a career with the police, said kids who kill are “unforgivable” in an A-Level assignment.

Her parents are now continuing their daughter’s fight, saying: “If he behaves and shows exceptional progress in prison he can apply after six years to have his minimum term sentenced reduced.

They said: “He has the right to change his name, which will make it more difficult to protect women in the future.

“British justice system at its best. There is no punishment, therefore, no deterrent.”

The Twilight Killers

Britain’s youngest double murderers Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham were just 14 when they slaughtered her mum Liz Edwards, 49, and sister Katie, 13, as they slept in their beds.

In 2016, armed with a kitchen knife, Markham slashed dinner lady Liz in the throat and knifed her eight times while smothering her with a pillow to stop her screaming.

He then made his way to Katie’s room and stabbed her twice in the neck – with the terrified youngster mumbling the final words: “I can’t”.

After knifing the mother and daughter ten times, the twisted young couple ate tea cakes and ice cream before watching the vampire movie series Twilight and having s*x.

Chillingly, they stayed with the bodies for a day-and-a-half before cops were called over their welfare.

Twisted Edwards was “jealous” of her sister and felt her mother was much more “attached” to Katie.

The couple spoke at length about the killings as they walked along a riverbank and hatched the grisly plot from a McDonald’s three days before.

The “cold, calculated and callous” killers were caged for a life with a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after being found guilty of murder in October 2016.

This means they could be released in 2033 aged 32 after the original minimum term of at least 20 years each was reduced.

Mary Bell

Mary Bell strangled Martin Brown, four, and Brian Howe, three, in 1968, when she was just ten years old.

The schoolgirl murdered Martin at a derelict house in Newcastle upon Tyne before killing Brian on wasteland – carving an “M” into his stomach and mutilating his body.

Bell was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after psychiatrists described her as displaying “classic symptoms of psychopathy”.

She was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1980 aged 23 and given a new identity to protect her daughter when she was born four years later.

The decision to keep her identity a secret piled fresh torment on the family of Martin Brown, who fear one day bumping into the killer – now aged 62 – on the street.

Martin’s sister Sharon Richardson said last year: “We don’t know what she looks like. We could pass her in the street and not know.

“She can walk around like a ghost and if she does something wrong they will just change her identity, and we as taxpayers are paying for that.

“It’s never been about our family, it’s always been about Mary Bell.”

Lorraine Thorpe

Thorpe was just 15 when she carried out a brutal double murder in Ipswich alongside her 41-year-old “role model” Paul Clarke in 2009.

The unremorseful teen bragged to police how she savagely beat and smothered her father Desmond, 43, and laughed with pals about killing Rosalyn Hunt.

Rosalyn was tortured for two days by the gruesome pair, who grated her skin with a cheese grater and then rubbed salt in the wounds to make sure she suffered as much as possible.

The twisted teen used vulnerable Rosalyn as a “punch bag” – stamping on her and snapping nine of her ribs before burning her hair and whipping her with a dog lead.

Rosalyn died in agony days later but the horrifying killing spree was not over.

On August 10, 2009, the depraved pair visited chronic alcoholic Desmond, who was in the care of Thorpe.

When he threatened to go to the police about Rosalyn’s murder, Thorpe battered him before he was smothered with a cushion.

Thorpe became Britain’s youngest convicted female double murderer after the trial and was jailed for at least 14 years – meaning she will be eligible for release when she turns 29 in 2024.

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson

Venables and Thompson shocked the nation in 1993 when they abducted and mutilated two-year-old James Bulger in Bootle, Merseyside, aged just ten.

Little James was led away by the depraved duo while his mother was in a butcher’s shop at the busy shopping centre.

Venables and Thompson took James to a railway line and tortured, beat and s*xually assaulted him.

They poured modelling paint into his eyes, stoned him and clubbed him with bricks, before leaving him on the railway line to be hit by a train.

James, who suffered 42 injuries in total, was sliced in half by a train and his body discovered two days later.

Both were convicted of murder and jailed with a minimum of 15 years – making them the country’s youngest murderers in 250 years.

But they were released on license aged 18 after just eight years in prison and given new identities.

Thompson has not re-offended since being released but in February last year, Venables was jailed for 40 months after he admits to possessing more than 1,000 indecent images of children.

William Cornick

Cornick, then 15, stabbed 61-year-old Ann Maguire seven times before severing her jugular vein with a 21cm knife in front of his horrified classmates.

In the moments before the 2014 killing, he calmly got out of his seat and “winked” to a fellow student while clutching the weapon.

Cornick then walked into the next room where Ann was teaching and stabbed her seven times in the back and neck.

She managed to run away while clutching her neck before falling into the arms of fellow teacher Susan Francis, who had rushed to her aid when she heard her screams.

As Susan and Ann barricaded themselves in a room, Cornick was heard to say “good times” before sitting down and waiting for the police to arrive.

Spanish teacher Ann bled to death during the third lesson of the day at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.

Cornick eventually pleaded guilty to murder in November 2014 and was caged for a minimum of 20 years by a judge, who lifted reporting restrictions blocking him from being identified.

The teen killer, who will be 26 by the time he is eligible for release, has unsuccessfully appealed against his sentence.

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