PC Neil Doyle Killing: Calls for Sentences to Be Reviewed
Timmy Donovan and Andrew Taylor were sentenced last week to a total of 14 years in jail following the killing of off duty police officer, PC Neil Doyle, in December last year.
The newly married officer died after being struck during an altercation on Colquitt Street, Liverpool City Centre, in the early hours of December 19th 2014.
Donovan and Taylor were each convicted of manslaughter with Donovan receiving a jail sentence of six years and 10 months, while Taylor was jailed for seven years and six months. The pair were also convicted of wounding with intent for attacking PC Doyle’s fellow officer, PC Marshall and Taylor was separately found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent for an assault on PC Michael Steventon.
However, this week the Attorney General’s office has confirmed that it has received a request for the pair’s sentences to be reconsidered under the unduly lenient sentence system.
This comes after a twitter campaign was launched following the pair’s sentencing last week. An account in the name of Sarah Doyle, PC Doyle’s widow, sent out a tweet this week stating:
“We are looking to have the Attorney General review the sentences handed out in respect of the manslaughter of PC Neil Doyle and also the sec 18’s on his colleagues.”
Supporters were encouraged to “email your dissatisfaction” to the Attorney General, with the user adding “Your support would be really appreciated.”
The account also sent a tweet to Liverpool born Leigh MP Andy Burnham and the Shadow Home Secretary. The tweet read:
“I’ve sent you an email re the sentence of my husband PC Doyles killers. don’t be like other MPs and ignore it. #youhadmyvote”
While the Attorney General’s office has confirmed that it received the request to review Donovan and Taylor’s sentences, it will not disclose who sent it.
Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme
The unduly lenient sentence scheme legally means that a ‘sentence is so unfairly low that a judge cannot believe it is right’. The scheme can only be considered for the most serious of cases and a review must be asked for within 28 days of sentencing.
Mr Justice Turner said whilst sentencing the pair:
“This was an unlawful attack and you must have known that Mr Doyle would be injured as a result.
“Neither of these officers you assaulted posed a threat to you. They were trying to keep the peace throughout.
“The medical evidence does not establish if it was the first or second blow which caused Mr Doyle’s death but he died against the background of a joint enterprise.
“I am sure that the harm you did intend to inflict was significant. Death is all too frequently caused by things going wrong in the course of violence criminality. There is no such thing as a death-proof punch.”
Mr Justice Turner said he accepted that it was Taylor’s actions that led to the “fracas”, ultimately leading to PC Doyle’s death.
Liverpool Crown Court heard neither defendant had admitted landing the fatal punch. The pair were convicted under the ‘joint enterprise’ law, which is often viewed as controversial.
In a statement PC Doyle’s widow, Sarah Doyle, said:
“My last words to him as he left were I love you, stay safe and ring me when you want me to pick you up. I am still waiting for that call.
“I honestly believe that when I heard the knock on the door, Neil had been given a lift home by colleagues.
“Neil, my best friend, my husband, had been killed. Since December 19 I feel like my whole world has been torn apart. I feel numb, emotionless, lost, like I am among the outside of the situation looking in.
“This should have been the happiest time of our lives; instead it has been the worst. It hasn’t even been six months since Neil was standing at the bottom of the aisle waiting for me on our wedding day.
“I hate what Taylor and Donovan have put me and my family through. I will never forgive them for this. Their families will be able to see them but I will only be able to visit a grave.”
Criminal Injuries – Expert Advice
We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.
There is however a government scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families at this tragic time. The scheme is called CICA (The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). Once your claim is accepted by Hampson Hughes Solicitors, we will liaise with CICA on your behalf.
If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email