"We were an ordinary working-class family... Garry loved cars and music. Every Sunday he would wash his car religiously and mine as well...(now) The light has gone out of our lives-it’s like a piece of jigsaw has been lost forever.”
Helen Newlove, widow of Garry
19-year-old Adam Swellings was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years. Jordan Cunliffe, 16, was sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 12 years. Stephen Sorton, 17, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 15 years. This was reduced to 13 years on appeal.
Swellings and Cunliffe also appealed their convictions. They were both turned down. Cunliffe’s mother argued that it was unfair her son had been convicted through the law of joint enterprise. This meant that he could be found guilty of murder because he watched it happen and failed to act. She argued that Cunliffe suffered from keratoconus, an eye condition that meant his eyesight was impaired. She also believed that the massive publicity over the murder meant the case was rushed and those involved felt under enormous pressure to prove guilt and sentence accordingly.
The murder triggered massive debate everywhere from the papers to Parliament. The leader of the opposition, David Cameron cited the killing as evidence of a ‘Broken Britain’. The key concerns were:
How effective the judicial system was with teenagers;
The lack of parental responsibility for and control of teenagers;
The easy access of teenagers to drugs;
And the availability and acceptance of super strength alcohol and its effects:
“I feel desperate. My officers use vast amounts of time policing alcohol culture."
Peter Fahy, Cheshire Chief Constable
The Newlove family tried as best they could to carry on. But Amy suffered flashbacks of her father’s death and Helen was on medication and couldn’t go back to work. Danielle posted an online tribute
"Rip Dad, I'll miss you so much...You was one big hero who stood up for what was right."
But life moved on. Garry had always told Zoe that she should try modelling because he thought her looks would soon earn her enough to buy him a Ferrari. And in honour of her father, and realising life is short, Zoe managed to earn a place on ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’.
In 2010 Helen was invited to become a Peer in the House of Lords acting on behalf of victims and communities.
“When I went for the induction day I did feel you know very much like Coronation Street Hilda Ogden. What am I doing here, somebody’s going to tell you have come in the wrong door.”
Like Doreen Lawrence, however, Helen was made for the role. In the years since becoming the Victims Commissioner she has toured the country meeting others who are trying to tackle anti-social behaviour. She also meets with youth offenders and talks at schools about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
“I do what I do because I really can’t get my head round he’s gone. I can’t get my head round he had cancer and he didn’t die from cancer; he died from kicks to the head. I do what I do because I don’t want to live in this society that accepts that kind of crime.”
In 2012, in a small ceremony, surrounded by her three daughters, Helen married again.
Five years after Garry’s death, Cheshire police said anti-social behaviour had been reduced stating there’d been a reduction of more than 66% in cases involving the most serious violent crimes.
In August 2013 Helen released a book entitled ‘It Could Happen To You.”
All proceeds go to a victims’ charity.