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Mothers of women murdered by ex-partners try to change the gun law


Two mothers whose daughters were murdered by their ex-boyfriends have teamed up to change the law on prison sentences.

Ellie Gould, 17, and Poppy Devey Waterhouse, 24, were both brutally stabbed by former partners.

Both deaths involved kitchen knives found at the scene – which, according to the victims' mothers, could have shortened their sentences.

Current guidelines state that if the murderer brings a gun to the scene, he should be detained longer.

Carole Gould and Julie Devey are now campaigning for longer sentences for using existing weapons.

Poppy Devey Waterhouse

Two mothers whose daughters were murdered by their ex-boyfriends have teamed up to change the law on prison sentences. Ellie Gould (left) (17) and Poppy Devey Waterhouse (right) (24) were both tragically stabbed to death by former partners

Ms. Devey told the BBC: "How is your killer to be viewed as less violent and less dangerous than someone who once or twice stabbed someone in the park he didn't know?"

Ms. Gould added, "These cases … happen all the time, and yet the government is simply not interested in changing the conviction to make the sentence fit the crime."

Ellie was murdered by Thomas Griffiths at her Calne, Wiltshire home in May last year after breaking off their relationship.

The now 18-year-old killer was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison after stabbing his ex-girlfriend 13 times in the neck.

Poppy, originally from Frome, Somerset, was murdered in 2018 by her former boyfriend, Joe Atkinson.

Carole Gould (pictured) and Julie Devey are now campaigning for longer sentences for using guns on the scene

Carole Gould (pictured) and Julie Devey are now campaigning for longer sentences for using guns on the scene

Ms. Devey (pictured with her son Zeb in court after her daughter's killer, Joe Atkinson, was imprisoned for life in 2019) told the BBC, “How is your killer to be viewed as less violent and less dangerous than someone who was a stabbed someone twice? that they don't know in the park? & # 39;

Ms. Devey (pictured with her son Zeb in court after her daughter's killer, Joe Atkinson, was imprisoned for life in 2019) told the BBC, “How is your killer to be viewed as less violent and less dangerous than someone who was a stabbed someone twice? that they don't know in the park? & # 39;

She was killed in an apartment in Leeds, Yorkshire, where she suffered around 70 knife wounds all over her body.

Atkinson, 25, was sentenced to at least 15 years and 310 days in prison.

Both murders involved kitchen knives that were already with the girls.

Current guidelines state that the starting point for a sentence is 25 years if a weapon is brought to the scene, but 15 years for other crimes.

A Justice Department spokesman said: "Every murder rightly carries a life sentence and it is up to the judge to determine the minimum sentence."

Friends of Ellie previously launched a campaign to make self-defense classes compulsory at school after her death.

The idea was discussed in parliament, but stalled after the coronavirus outbreak.

In September, Ms. Gould said she knew the moment she heard the news of her daughter's death that control of Griffiths was the killer.

Poppy, originally from Frome, Somerset, was murdered in 2018 by her ex-boyfriend Joe Atkinson (left)

Ellie was murdered by Thomas Griffiths (right) at her Calne, Wiltshire home in May last year after breaking off their relationship

Poppy, originally from Frome, Somerset, was murdered in 2018 by her ex-boyfriend Joe Atkinson (left). Ellie was murdered by Thomas Griffiths (right) at her Calne, Wiltshire home in May last year after breaking off their relationship

Ellie's father, Matthew, 52, returned from work at lunchtime to find his daughter's lifeless body on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

Speaking to the new Real Fix podcast, which has extraordinary true stories, she said, “The weekend before (her death) she told me that he had molested her about going to his house all the time.

She told me that he had acted weird that week and pretty much controlled her when she wasn't with him.

On the day she was killed, she was home waiting for her friend to pick her up to take her to her history class.

In September, Ms. Gould said she knew the moment she heard the news of her daughter's death that control of Griffiths was the killer

In September, Ms. Gould said she knew the moment she heard the news of her daughter's death that control of Griffiths was the killer

My husband Matthew came home first and called me hysterically. He said I had to come home because Ellie had a terrible accident.

I jumped in the car with all these thoughts in my head, then a police car sped past me with sirens on.

“There were so many ambulances and police cars outside that I had to park down the street, and I ran up the driveway to find Matt sobbing.

And last year, on the day Atkinson was jailed, the grieving Ms. Devey spoke in harrowing detail about visiting the apartment where Poppy was stabbed.

She was subjected to a "long and brutal" death in the apartment they shared in Leeds by her university sweetheart Atkinson, who also had a master's degree in mathematics.

Joe Atkinson (left) was sentenced today to a minimum of 15 years after pleading guilty to the murder of his ex-girlfriend Poppy Devey Waterhouse (right).

And last year, on the day Atkinson was jailed, the grieving Ms. Devey spoke in harrowing detail about visiting the apartment where Poppy was stabbed. Pictured: Poppy with Atkinson

Atkinson killed Poppy in an attack that was "fueled by jealousy" two months after breaking off their three-year relationship.

In an emotional impact statement, Ms. Devey revealed how she "scratched my hands over the floorboards she screamed on" after visiting the blood-soaked apartment where she died.

"I just wanted to pick it up and save it," she added. "I fell on the floor, sobbing and screaming. I kept scratching the carpet and screaming" No, no, no ".

Her tearful father Rupert Waterhouse also spoke of the "great pain" of not being "there for my daughter when she needed me most".

"I could only kiss her cold forehead when it was too late and tell her I love her," he said, adding how Poppy "was murdered by the man she loved and trusted".

The "eloquence and incredible testimony" of each of Poppy's family members was praised by the defendant's family, as Atkinson's attorney said of him: "There was absolutely no sign of anything that could come."

He added that it was "a complete departure from anything that had defined this 25-year-old."

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