Baroness Helen Newlove has spoken out against the latest attacks (Image: Liverpool Echo)
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The widow of a man beaten to death by thugs has warned Britain is still broken after two more shocking gang attacks.
Baroness Newlove, whose husband Garry was kicked to death by teens outside their home, said it makes her feel “sick inside” when she reads reports of similar crimes.
Calling for widespread reform to tackle youth disorder and gang crime, she said: “We’ve got to break down this kind of criminality.”
The widow and campaigner spoke out after “devoted dad” Danny Humble, 35, was beaten to death as he walked through an underpass with his girlfriend in Cramlington, Northumberland, last month.
Police said the incident happened following a “short exchange of words” with a group of young people.
And carer Alan Willson remains in serious condition in hospital months after he was attacked in a park in Worthing, West Sussex, after reportedly attempting to defend his son from bullies on Easter Sunday.
Five teenage boys were initially arrested over the attack on suspicion of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent, but were released under strict bail conditions.
And three of the boys were rearrested as part of the ongoing investigation last month. They were released on conditional bail while the Crown Prosecution Service considers all the evidence.
Thousands have since signed a petition calling for a police crackdown on youth crime in the area.
Helen Newlove, 59, sent her “heartfelt best wishes” to the families affected and called for urgent action across all levels of government to tackle antisocial behaviour and gang crime.
Garry Newlove was attacked outside his home in Warrington
(Image: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)
She told the Mirror: “When I read anything like that it brings me back to losing Garry. The fact that it’s still going on after Garry’s 13 years – it makes me feel very sick inside.
“The fact that we are still seeing people being beaten to death or severely injured – I fear we are all becoming desensitised to it. My worry again is that it’s becoming common nature, even with knife crimes and gangs.
“These gangs have absolutely no fear to injure somebody. It does make me feel physically sick reading about it. We’ve got to break down this kind of criminality.”
In August, Helen and her three daughters will come together to mark 14 years since Garry was murdered outside their front door in Warrington, Cheshire.
Drunken thugs were said to have kicked his head “like a football” after he confronted the louts for vandalising a car.
Two of his killers have already been released, while the third is due to have a parole hearing in the coming months to consider if he will be moved to open prison.
Following his murder Helen condemned the government for failing to get to grips with youth disorder and was later given a peerage for her campaign work, before spending six years as Victim’s Commissioner.
But she fears antisocial behaviour has only got worse and wants to see young people “held accountable” for their actions.
The mum-of-three has always questioned the police’s treatment of antisocial behaviour as “low-level” offending, because the impact on the community is so serious.
The damage done by young offenders like Garry’s killers is “world-shattering and lasts a lifetime”, she said, adding that hands and feet are weapons.
“For me it was about making sure my three daughters had a life to live but it’s far easier to look at a bottle of pills and say I can’t take this anymore because of the shock of young people going round doing this in a senseless, needless, violent act that impacts on families that have never caused any issue,” she added.
“I don’t think it [antisocial behaviour] has improved. I think the severity of violence has escalated.
“You are looking at machetes among the weapons they are using. We’ve now got county lines and gang crime.
“When I finished in 2019 as the Victim’s Commissioner my final report was on antisocial behaviour and it had escalated. So it hasn’t got any better.”
Figures show that drug and antisocial offences rose rapidly during the lockdown while the majority of other crimes fell.
Incidents of anti-social behaviour rose by 45% from 339,944 in April to June 2019 to 493,267 in the same period in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That included reported breaches of Covid-19 restrictions, as well as the usual incidents of noisy neighbours, graffiti, drink and drug use. Drug crimes recorded by police rose by 30% to 57,132.
And she fears that as we feel the full effects of the pandemic, the problem is only going to get worse.
She said: “There’s going to be a tsunami of mental health issues. We are going to have high unemployment. People are going to lose their homes.
“It’s not going to get better. We are going to go through a very rough stage and our core systems are just not functioning properly.”
The Baroness believes a joined up, long-term approach is needed, including tougher parenting, improved education and more consistent sentencing for youth crimes.
“Its a big issue,” she added. “I think all the agencies have got to work together now. We’ve got a lot of dangerous people out there.
“We’ve got excellent teachers but they aren’t social workers. And parenting is the job of parents not the state.
“I think it’s not just about funding, it’s about people understanding their responsibilities.
“I also think our parole system is not fit for purpose and I would like to investigate prisons as well. Why is it that our prisons are not effective?”
She repeated calls for a victim’s law to better support families through the court system and create a “level playing field” for defendants and victims.
Advising relatives of victims in the latest attacks to take “each day as it comes”, she added: “We need to sort this out. It cannot carry on where innocent people are losing their lives.”