Thank you for your message by Facebook or email asking me to ask Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene and prevent Asher Maslin’s appeal against his sentence for murdering Hollie Gazzard.
I totally understand and sympathise with the strength of your feelings about this horrific murder, and I’m sure her family hugely appreciate your emotional support.
Since you ask me to do something specific, let me give a simple summary of the legal situation as I understand it. Anyone convicted in a Crown Court has an absolute right to try and appeal against conviction and/or the sentence. Because Asher Maslin entered a plea of guilty, and there were no exceptional circumstances, he could only appeal against the sentence. So there is no question of his conviction being overturned: the only issue is about whether his sentence (a MINIMUM of 24 years) is appropriate.
A High Court judge has granted leave his request to an appeal and will be heard by the Court of Appeal with a Lord Justice presiding. I have asked for a date but the case won’t be listed now until sometime in mid-December, so we can probably expect not to see a date for the hearing until 2015.
No politician, whether MP, Justice Secretary, Home Secretary or PM has any say in the matter at all. It’s an entirely judicial process. And although it’s occasionally tempting to wish I could wave a magic wand at certain court cases, I can’t.
While I might have strong views on what the result of the appeal should be, it wouldn’t be helpful for me to go public on this – and might even be counterproductive. We shouldn’t have long to wait and whatever happens the facts can never be changed: the murderer has to live with the ghastly truth and we can never bring Hollie back again.
But what we can do is to support the work Nick Gazzard has started with the Hollie Gazzard Trust – preventing and stopping domestic abuse before it’s too late.
We can all in different ways support the events, raise the funds, spread the word, encourage the cards of hairdressers to have the helpline number for Domestic Abuse Services, and above all make everyone feel they can, and must, talk about abuse.
That way, out of shocking evil can come something hugely positive that honours Hollie.
I hope this both answers your question and shows a way forward.