'Appalling' killer should never set foot in Ipswich again, says MP

Tom Hunt Andrea Cristea sentence

Tom Hunt led a debate on Andrea Cristea's (inset) sentence for killing Richard Day - Credit: Parliament TV/Suffolk Constabulary

MP Tom Hunt has paid an emotional tribute to manslaughter victim Richard Day in parliament - and said he does not want his "appalling" killer to set foot in Ipswich again.

Mr Hunt secured an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons after 17-year-old Andrea Cristea killed the 45-year-old with a single punch to the neck outside Kebabpizza, in St Matthew's Street, on February 23 last year.

Cristea, who was 16 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and violent disorder and was sentenced to four years in a young offenders' institution.

"Not a single person in the town I have spoken to about this particular sentence believes that it is appropriate or that it delivers justice," Mr Hunt said during the debate on Monday.

"They believe it is far from that."

Mr Hunt had previously asked the Attorney General to refer Cristea's case to the Court of Appeal under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Richard Day, 45, known as Richie, was described as a quiet, reserved man and a 'real gent' Picture:

Richard Day, 45, died after being struck in the neck by Cristea - Credit: Supplied by family

However, this was rejected as the court would be "very unlikely to increase the sentence".

Mr Hunt said the sentence had huge consequences for Mr Day's family, adding: "Their belief is that no justice has been served.

"As the family of the victim, their confidence in the criminal justice system has been shaken as a result of this.

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"They believe this pitiful sentence is almost an insult.

"What kind of deterrent does it provide to anybody else potentially involved in this kind of illicit behaviour, when somebody who behaves like this can get away with it?"

Mr Hunt said he pushed for the debate because he "wanted to put on record the remarkable man I have learned about and the contribution that he made to his family and to his town, and the fact that he should never be forgotten".

He added: "I did not know Richard Day—I had not met him—but having met his brother and a lot of people who did know him and were touched by him, it is very clear that Richard Day was an incredibly popular man who touched the lives of a huge number of Ipswich residents.

"He would have done anything for anyone. He was the sort of man who deserved only good things to happen to him and only good things to happen to those who were closest to him."

But he said it was the responsibility of politicians to take action, saying: "I believe that this House and this government need to look at the system and take appropriate action to ensure that sentences such as this are not issued in the way that they are.

"It seems wrong that, if he had been over 18, he probably would have got something like nine years and there is such a dramatic difference if you are a 17-year-old as opposed to if you are an 18-year-old—almost more, I believe, than the difference if you are a 12-year-old and if you are a 17-year-old."

He praised the government for making some good moves, such as ending automatic release of prisoners found guilty of the most serious offences.

He called for steps to "strengthen our criminal justice system to ensure that people such as Cristea pay a much, much higher price for the unbearable pain they have inflicted".

He added: "My view is that I do not want him to step foot in the town that I represent ever again" - and said Mr Day "deserves for there to be a legacy".

Mr Hunt said: "That involves us remembering him, but also being determined that other families do not have to go through the pain that his family have gone through."

Chris Philp, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Home Office, replied by praising Mr Hunt for a "very moving and powerful speech that he has just made, paying very eloquent tribute to his constituent".

Mr Philp added: "I again thank my hon. Friend for raising this extremely serious case.

"I extend my condolences to Richard Day’s family. He was taken from them so suddenly and so brutally, and it is fitting that he has received the tribute that he has tonight from his own constituency MP.

"This government are committed to ensuring that serious offenders spend longer in prison.

"We have been legislating today to ensure that more of the sentence is spent in prison. I have listened carefully to what my hon. Friend said and there are some points to take away."

The teenagers deny unlawfully killing 45-year-old Richard Day outside Kebapizza, in St Matthews Str

The incident happened outside a takeaway in St Matthew's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

After the debate, Mr Hunt said: "I wanted to point out how pitiful the sentence of Cristea is and that in the opinion of everyone I have spoken to about this, it does not give the family, or Ipswich, the sense that justice has been served.

"I wanted to highlight to the minister how sentences like this do not send a clear message of deterrence or prevent individuals like Cristea from setting foot in Ipswich again."

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