I joined two parents from Didsbury, Adrian and Ann Thornber, in London today as they presented a 52,000 name petition, organised by change.org to Downing Street calling for the law to be changed so that 17 year olds are treated as children when arrested and in custody.
We were joined by Nick and Jane Lawton, and Shauneen Lambe from the charity Just for Kids Law.
The Thornber’s and the Lawton’s had both faced any parents worst nightmare.
Edward Thornber, was arrested for the possession of cannabis and was wrongly sentenced. Being ordered to court rather than just being given a warning the ex-head boy wrongly faced with the prospect of losing a career opportunity in the US, hung himself in a Didsbury Park.
According to police reports, following his arrest in Cornwall, police made a number of errors processing his arrest, filling him as an adult rather than technically a youth.
Nick and Jane Lawton’s son Joe committed suicide two days after he was arrested for drink driving last August. Mrs Lawton said she believed her son would still be alive today if he had been treated as a child in custody.
The current law is inconsistent. At the moment, a 17-year-olds is treated as an adult when they go to the police station. If they get sent to court, they go back to being treated like children in the court system.
The result of that inconsistency is that is has wrecked the lives of the Thornber and Lawton families.
I want to change the law to make sure no other parents go through what they have had to go through.