Ashley Charles

EDIT: Ashley Charles has lodged an appeal against conviction and sentence, fuller details of the updated position are here.

We will revisit the case again when the appeal is heard. In the interim, we have decided to close the comments on this post. Thank you to those who have participated in the discussion of the sentence. END

On Friday 9th November, Ashley Charles was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Phillip Sherriff, following a nightclub fight. The tariff was set at 14 years.

The facts are that Mr Charles was at a bar when he was pushed by a Phillip Sherriff over an innocuous argument (as is too often the case, the full sentencing remarks are not available). It seems that Mr Charles grabbed a bottle from Mr Sherriff, swung it behind him (where it broke) and plunged it into Mr Sherriff’s neck.

It seems that this was ‘out of character’ (meaning that there was, in all likelihood, no history of violence in Mr Charles past) and that he did not deliberately smash the bottle before attacking Mr Sherriff. Also, afterwards, Mr Charles was remorseful, saying “is he okay? I wish I had not done that. It was a stupid mistake.” He pleaded not guilty and had a trial, saying that he was acting in self-defence. The jury rejected this however and found him guilty of murder.

So, the ‘Goldilocks Question’ – was the sentence too high, too short, or about right? It is clear that the starting point is 15 years. There was no credit for a plea of guilty, so why did the Judge reduce the tariff by one year?

For this, you need to look at the aggravating and mitigating features. On the face of it, none of the aggravating features are present. At least two of the seven mitigating features (an intention to cause really serious harm rather than an intention to kill and a lack of premeditation) were present.

In light of that, it would seem that the question is why the reduction was only one year rather than more, given all of the above? For that, we will have to wait to see if there is an appeal, but on the face of it, it would not have been surprising if the tariff had been less.

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About Dan Bunting

I'm a lawyer who works for myself. Legal geek, maths freak, general dullard and jack of all trades. Here’s a few views on law and occasional musings on life. Usual caveats about not relying on anything I say etc applies.

332 thoughts on “Ashley Charles

  1. fairandsquare1

    I read that a witness saw him walking away with a look of panic on his face. I haven’t seen anything to say he ran away. If Mr Charles’s intention was to kill Mr Sherriff, why would be have a panic stricken look on his face so soon afterwards? When wrestled to the ground, he immediately asked if Mr Sherriff was ok and then said that he had made a stupid mistake. Both indicate that he showed immediate remorse.

    1. ...

      One comment said ‘moving away’ so why should he be trying to leave if was so concerned for the victims welfare?

      1. Hope21

        Maybe he was in shock. there’s a big difference between running away and moving away

    2. Twobucks

      Had Ashley Charles been able to leave without being caught, would he still have asked how the victim was? My guess is no, he would not.

      1. fairandsquare1

        What he would have said in that situation is something that none of us will ever know.

        If he really wanted to leave without being caught, then surely he would have ran away.

  2. Dan Bunting Post author

    We’ve emailed the Office of the Judiciary to see if they can make the sentencing remarks public. We’ll let you know if there’s a response.

  3. fairandsquare1

    I’ve looked and commented on some of the information you have uploaded on how a jury works. I found it very useful, thank you. Good luck with the Office of Judiciary on the sentencing remarks in relation to the case of Ashley Charles. Hopefully, we will get an update on that soon.

  4. Dan Bunting Post author

    I don’t think that anyone has forgotten that Mr Sherriff has died. Obviously no sentence will bring him back and it is then a question of what factors are relevant in terms of sentencing:
    1) Rehabilitation
    2) Punishment
    3) Deterrence
    4) Protection of the Public

    And in what weight each carries.

    It is interesting to compare with other offences, such as the paedophile mentioned by people above as well as other murder tariffs – do we have our sentencing in proportion?

    Also, compare it with other countries – in the rest of Western Europe (most of which has a lower crime rate than the UK) where Mr Charles would have received a much lower sentence?

    1. FaIr play

      In relation to the factors listed on your comments it is clear that a sentence can only be justified as punishment in this case. Ashley Charles is still alive but lives with the fact that someone has died because he didn’t walk away when being provoked not only verbally but the real threats made on that mobile phone. Why else would he try and grab it, not once but twice.
      It’s hard for mrs sherriff and her family to accept that this was all started by comments made by mr sherriff in some attempt to chat a women up, I can understand that but what I find totally disgusting and unacceptable is the many number of people who have never spoken to Ashley and are using bottle stop via Facebook to place threats, vengeance and hatred towards him. Mrs sherriff has allowed this to happen from the start and it continues now. The day after the trial she appeared in the sun news paper, the lowest of the low, not to promote bottle stop but for her own satisfaction this followed by tv appearances where plastic bottles were hardly mentioned.
      Ashley Charles family have remained dignified throughout and will continue to do so, I can’t say the same for everyone.

  5. fairandsquare1

    No, I don’t think we do have our sentencing in proportion and I think the outcome of Mr Charles’s trial evidences this. Had a weighting been applied which included the areas above, I don’t believe Mr Charles would have received the lengthy sentence that he is now having to come to terms with, to add to the remorse he already has for the mistake he made that night.

    I don’t think anyone wins here. A man has lost his life and another’s has been ruined by a “moment of madness”. It was ruined the second after he swiped at Mr Sherriff. It was ruined without the 14 years sentence.

      1. Hope21

        I absolutely agree with Dan, What more could you possible add to that, it says it all Fair and Square.

  6. Dan Bunting Post author

    Quick (non) update. No news about whether there will be an appeal or, from the Ministry of Justice about the sentencing remarks.

  7. FaIr play

    With regards to witnesses.
    When there is an incident in a pub or club are witnesses required to be breathalysed and are statements required at that time? I would have doubts that people that have been drinking could be called on as reliable witnesses. What also worries me in this case is that when the police appealed for witnesses they described it as an unprovoked attack. I thought in law we are innocent until proven guilty. It seems that the police are only really interested in a conviction however possible.

      1. fairandsquare1

        I think the other point here is that the victim was sold as a decent, family man who died in a terrible way. I’m not doubting that either of these points are true but nobody wants to know about the character of Mr Charles, instead assuming that he is some sort of mad murderer, because a “decent” man died in a horrible way. Mr Charles’s family have not had the opportunity to talk about Mr Charles and yet he too could be a decent, family man, most certainly with no previous convictions on his side. I wasn’t in court but I’m sure that much time was spent on the injury Mr Sherriff sustained and how he suffered. Does understanding the injury and how Mr Sherriff died really further confirm the point that Mr Charles set out to murder him? I don’t think so…….but it does allow the jury to sustain pity and further support the case for Mr Sherriff.

      2. FaIr play

        I would imagine that mr Charles family would not have felt the need to speak up publicly. Good, genuine, reasonable people would expect the law to be fair to all parties involved. From what I have read everyone sworn in, in that court room was telling the truth apart from Ashley Charles??? Witnesses that came to mr sherriffs assistance couldn’t possibly be lieing under oath, and let’s not forget that the police were looking for witnesses for a reported unprovoked attack! It’s very worrying when someone is arrested they may have to plead guilty and hope for a fair sentence rather than tell the truth, with honest belief and face a jury with preconceived opinions picked up from the press, social media sites and the police! From the very beginning how did the police arrive at the charge of attempted murder?

      3. Hope

        According to press quotations Mr Sheriff told the woman Ashley Charles was with that she would rather be with him. He was then talking more on the phone that Charles was trying to take presumably to stop him saying whatever he was saying. If he made antagonistic remarks at the bar I would like to know what he went on to say in the the phone that drove Mr Charles to lose it. If he wanted to kill him he would not be trying to grab a phone. He wanted to silence him not kill him. It is words that started this sequence of tragic events. And instead if describing them as innocuous or joking it would be a good idea to acknowledge how dangerous words can be. Vengeance is no way to make things right.

      4. fairandsquare1

        Good point. So is it the police that decide what a person is charged with and if so, how do they come to their decision and at which point do they reach their decision? Does the defendant’s solicitor have any input to this, after hearing what the defendant has to say and the evidence? Does the defendant’s view have any influence on the charge that the police pursue?

      5. Dan Bunting Post author

        It’s a complicated issue and depends on the charge and other factors. In practice, on a murder case, there will be discussion between the Police and the CPS and a senior CPS figure would decided to charge. Whilst the defence can make representations to the police, it is largely an academic exercise in a case such as this.

    1. Dan Bunting Post author

      No. A jury can find a lesser verdict (if allowed to by a Judge), they are not allowed to find someone guilty of a more serious charge, and Murder is more serious than Manslaughter.

      1. FaIr play

        Why were the police allowed to say that they were appealing for witnesses for an unprovoked attack? This was incorrect and would effect any potential witnesses judgement. Would any potential witnesses coming forward to the police in support of Ashley Charles get their voice heard or would they be told that the police would be in touch if needed? How can we be 100% sure that witnesses judgement has not been effected by alcohol drank that evening and comments made by the press, social media sites campaigning and the police. It has really opened my eyes to what goes on and how vulnerable you can become in the judicial system.

  8. Adey

    Murder (to me) is if he had gone to the bar with the intention of killing his victim. No only was the bottle smashed by accident, the action of the defendant was irrational. This should have been manslaughter with a 4-8 year jail term, maximum. Do we really think as a society that this person will re-commit even if he was released after 2 years?

    1. FaIr play

      Yes it is a very sad case and seems to be more about revenge than justice. Without the intent it is hard to see how a jury could come to this conclusion. In cases like this we really need a panel of judges as the jury rather than members of the public with possibly no back ground in criminal law. Now that social media sites are so common place information can be obtained without necessarily being the whole truth. The saying innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past. I worry for anyone that pleads not guilty with honest belief as they will be judged by a jury with preconceived opinions taken from the press, social media sites and the police.

      1. Adey

        I think if he had demonstrated more remorse for the victim and not himself, the tariff could have been manslaughter. I feel that much of the tariff was punishment and tough justice than any fair assessment of intent and future re-offending. Its astonishing how much sympathy the victim’s wife is getting, especially for her ‘Bottle Stop’ campaign, based on a purely emotional response to the crime.

      2. FaIr play

        The question over remorse seemed to stem from comments made by the officer involved with the arrest and charge of ashley Charles. To say mr Charles had no remorse for mr sherriff is shameful. We look to these people to act professionally, they should be fair and honest. Please believe me when I say that I know ashley is remorseful for the events of that evening, a more compassionate man you would find it hard to find. When your charged with something that is not true how are you expected to be? Your first time ever questioned by the police how would anyone be?

      1. Hope

        It’s all very sad. Mr Charles and Mr Sherif were clearly arguing at the bar that night. Mr Charles said that Mr Sherif was making very nasty comments and arranging something on his phone. Unfortunately Mr Charles lashed out because he was being intimidated and it all went terribly wrong. I’m sure Mr Charles understands he should be punished for what happened, but not jailed for 14 years that was unintentional. Unfortunately, people will take sides because Mr Sherif died from his injury. Ashley Charles has never been in trouble in his life, has no records of aggression, this is all very sad.

  9. fairandsquare1

    What evidence is there to suggest that Ashley Charles only showed remorse for himself. This all seems to be based on a comment made, to the press, after the trial, by a metropolitan police officer outside court. Again it goes to show how the media/press have influenced the public on their views of Mr Charles. In my view, it was a very flippant comment to make from someone with that degree of professionalism. I hope he has the evidence to support it.

    The truth of the matter is, Ashley Charles had a heavy sentence looming as soon as he took the action he did. Not because of what he did and how he went about it but because of where he was and the hype that followed it.

    1. FaIr play

      There is no evidence that Ashley Charles showed no remorse for mr sherriff because that was simply a statement made by the police to try and justify a guilty verdict. The police/cps know that this was never a murder charge. It was two days after the incident when he was charged with attempted murder! For that charge you need intent to kill, that was never present. They also asked for witnesses to come forward for an unprovoked attack, again not true. They also described it as man stabbed in the neck, again incorrect. What they failed to mention is that when Ashley Charles approached that bar mr sherriff decided to try and impress a women who was already talking to Ashley Charles. Ashley turned and ignored him but for this mr sherriff pushed him in the back. As comments exchanged mr sherriff became abusive and threatening. He then pretended to make a call, a call that became a real threat to Ashley Charles and the trigger that made him feel in imminent danger. When he reached for that phone but failed to stop that call he panicked, grabbing the bottle and when he flapped out he did not realise that it had come into contact with something and broken. I think the public should be shown the CCTV footage from when ashley Charles approached the bar,not just a selected section. I also think the transcripts from the court should be printed in the press, then people could see the whole picture.

      1. T

        “There is no evidence that Ashley Charles showed no remorse for mr sherriff”

        There’s not a shred of evidence to show that he had any remorse for anyone but himself, only his family and friends claim he showed remorse, but perhaps they’re a little biased.

      2. fairandsquare1

        T – And only those who are in support of the deceased are claiming that Mr Charles only showed remorse for himself. Again, biased.

        Mancunian – I am amazed that you are “amazed by my lack of understanding about the legal system”. After all, you don’t know me and I don’t know you. I have never attended a court in my life and I am not a solicitor, lawyer, barrister….. I’m not sure why you would assume otherwise.

  10. Hope

    Yes The argument is described in the intro here as innocuous. It was not innocuous and many descriptions have trivialised the actions and words that led to the disastrous outcome. Instead of emphasising the danger of antagonistic words so at the very least people might learn something the words and actions that made Ashley Charles snap have been described as joking or innocuous. Ashley Charles should pay for his actions but the sentence is far too long. It was neither an unprovoked or premeditated attack. He is no more a danger to society than any bloke who gets antagonised at a bar and I resent having to pay for him to be incarcerated for so long. The bloke that mowed down and killed my friends young daughter because he was speeding without his glasses on got 4 years and they were not fixed at that. It was a catastrophic loss of self control at a bar. Perhaps Blackberry should take its customers to something more constructive than a booze fuelled pop concert in a crushing recession.

    1. FaIr play

      Yes, a loss of control triggered by verbal abuse and very real physical threats. The fake phone call threatening violence against Ashley Charles was a very real, visual attack and he would have felt in imminent danger. Should have walked away? How many men or women would? If he had any intent on hurting mr sherriff he would have used the bottle already in his hand. This was an instantaneous reaction to provocation and physical threats.

      1. Wine Legs

        There is absolutely no proof of any verbal abuse or real physical threat.

      2. Mancunian

        There is no evidence for the alleged threats other than Charles’ statement. It cannot be said that they were ‘very real’. It can only be said that Charles’ described these ‘threats’ some time after the night in question. They were not mentioned in his initial statements to police. I think the judge gave Charles a very generous benefit of the doubt when he said that this should not be held against him. Also, the CCTV does not show a man who is in fear of anything. It shows a man who is very angry and displaying all the body language of an angry, aggressive person. That man is not Mr Sherriff, it is Charles. The jury clearly thought so too.

  11. Dan Bunting Post author

    It seems to me that the problem in this case is the huge gulf between the sentence for murder and manslaughter. Had he been convicted of manslaughter the sentence would probably have been been in the region of 8 years, of which he would have served half. The conviction for murder means he will have to spend another 14 Christmases in prison (and in reality probably more).

    In a case such as this, I in no way think the difference in culpability merits that difference in sentence. Do people think that if the jury had known the likely sentences that would have made a difference? Should juries know such things? Before a life sentence is passed, should the jury have to recommend it?

    1. FaIr play

      If I was serving on a jury I would have looked into the likely/minimum length of sentence if found guilty of murder. Surely the judges comments at the end of the trial sums this case up. No intent, didn’t break the bottle intentionally and was immediately remorseful (for mr Sherriff). To me the length of sentence is excessive but the real issue is that he has been found guilty of murder. That will never be right and he has to live his whole life on license for something he didn’t start and didn’t intend to happen.

      1. Linda

        I would say: intent was meant by grabbing the bottle and smashing it into the victims neck!!! Unintentionally broken or not- Charles absolutely intended to harm Phil Sherriff with that bottle. I would hazard a guess that smashing a bottle into someone’s neck is going to kill them!!!! He didn’t just punch him in the face for goodness sake. Hence his abhorrent actions have widowed a woman and taken a daddy away from 2 children and yes Bottlestop is an emotional response to an unnecessary loss – how more emotional does it get to lose the love of your life like this. ?? Charles initiated the aggression as witnessed on CCTV – he is responsible for his actions and therefore guilty of murder as was action with intent

    1. FaIr play

      Most adults would know what I life sentence means. Surely if they don’t they shouldn’t be on a jury. Are we expected to plead guilty to something we are not guilty of to get a reduced sentence. It’s not about the sentence it’s about finding the truth. In this case Ashley Charles is not guilty of murder but found guilty by a jury. Do you think that in cases like this there should be a panel of judges on the jury rather than members of the public with preconceived views taken from the press, social media sites and the police?

  12. Wine Legs

    I haven’t read all the comments…just the first few. I was present in the public gallery for some of the trial, and the things that struck me most was that the defendant did show remorse only for himself (for the fact that he didn’t want to go to prison for this crime, which was, I believe a loss of temper and a deliberate lashing out, perhaps uncharacteristic), and made the story he told try and fit the very clear CCTV footage of the incident. There are many places on line you can watch a small part of this footage if you wish.

    It seems quite clear to me that Mr Charles blatantly lied in court to try and reduce his sentence or negate the charge. Mr Charles had several months to come up with his story for what happened that night. Mr Sherriff will never get the opportunity to tell his side of things. Also Mr Charles had eight character witnesses during the trial. Mr Sherriff had none, as it’s not for the prosecution to prove that Mr Sherriff wouldn’t have provoked Mr Charles, but for Mr Charles to prove that he is innocent of the charge he is standing trial for.

    1. FaIr play

      The small section of CCTV released to the press by the police is to try and justify a guilty verdict. We need to see it all, from the moment Ashley Charles approached the bar, the moment mr sherriff, a married man with children tried to impress a women that was already talking to Ashley Charles.
      Ashley Charles pleady not guilty of murder which is the truth, as summed up by the judge, no intent, didn’t break the bottle intentionally and was immediately remorseful.
      Ashley may have had eight character references but he could have had many more.
      He is a compassionate, kind and thoughtful man. Until this incident I Always believed you are innocent until proven guilty not the other way round. It was a jury with preconceived views taken from the press, social media sites and the police that found Ashley Charles guilty not the judge, god help anyone who pleads not guilty as they will face a public jury.

  13. lou

    Well done Wine Legs. That is exactly what happened. Ashely Charles tried to besmirch Phil’s good name to try to get away with what he had done.If you look at the CCTV footage Ashley is the one being antagonistic pushing and getting up in Phil’s face. Phil looks like he is trying to use the phone call as an excuse to get away. He was such a good man, he would not have started anything. Ashley had so many people speak up for him in court yet Phil had no one apart from his widow.

    1. fairandsquare1

      So why did Phil have “no-one apart from his widow” to speak up for him? Were character references not heard for Mr Sherriff? Just asking.

      1. T

        A good man? He murdered someone in cold blood, your views of how good he is are maybe incorrect.

  14. fairandsquare1

    Ah, just read your earlier comment, Wine Legs, re the character references. So could the prosecution have used character references for Mr Sherriff, if the prosecution wished to do so? Or do they not have a choice in the matter and instead, its assumed that the victim is of good character and therefore doesn’t require them?

    1. Mancunian

      It seemed to be quite the opposite- no character witnesses were allowed for Mr Sherriff, despite his portrayal in court as an aggressive, drunken thug. It seems to be a pecularity of law that the victim’s character cannot be defended even as it is put on trial. Believe me, had it been possible to provide character witnesses for the victim there would have been scores of people lining up to take the stand.

  15. Hope

    I thought the bottle stop campaign was about revenge. I’ve just had my suspicions confirmed. It is about revenge.

    1. hope21

      Absolutely. It was intended to influence the trial and that’s why there was a huge push for signatures beforehand and also why banners were displayed outside the court during the trial, which they were told to remove immediately. I am fully supportive of it’s cause but it’s cause became lost as it turned into a ‘hate’ campaign against Ashley Charles, that is the real reason ‘Bottle stop’ was born…………

      1. Mancunian

        There were no banners during the trial, only after the conviction. It has not been a ‘hate campaign’, it has been an attempt to deliver something positive out of a horrendous situation. Regarding the postings immediately after the trial, I think a widow who has been robbed of her future by a convicted murderer is entitled to put her point of view. Her dead husband had no such right of reply when he was being described a a drunken, aggressive hooligan in court.

      2. T

        Hope21, stick to the facts and stop making up events which didn’t happen to defend a convicted murderer.

  16. Wine Legs

    I don’t think the prosecution was able to have character witnesses for Mr Sherriff other than his wife, & his colleagues that he’d been at the gig with & who he’d only known a short while. I don’t know why that is, and it isn’t my place to guess the reasons, other than it was Mr Charles on trial, and not Mr Sherriff, therefore Mr Sherriff’s character shouldn’t have been called into question. Unfortunately though, it was by the statements Mr Charles made and what he provided as his version of events.

    I realise it would be helpful to see all the CCTV footage, and the jury did see it all when making their decision. We have to trust that their decision is right. That’s what a jury is for. It is entirely probable that, for the most part, Mr Charles is a “compassionate, kind and thoughtful man”, but on that night, in that club, something snapped and for a short period of time, his behaviour changed markedly. Intent (to murder) does not have to be premeditated and can happen in a split second, which unfortunately in this case, it did.

    It is fortunate that, at the time, someone noticed that Mr Charles was trying to leave the scene and detained him. There is no question that his actions resulted in Mr Sherriff losing his life in what appears to be an unprovoked attack. There is no question that he tried to snatch Mr Sherriff’s phone and then he did snatch Mr Sherriff’s bottle. There is no question that he tried to leave the scene. It could be suggested that this happened when he realised the seriousness of his loss of temper and didn’t want to get in trouble for it, not knowing that Mr Sherriff was about to lose his life.

    Mr Charles has provided his version of the events that evening, but if you watch just the online CCTV, it doesn’t seem to match up to what he says is happening at the time, even if you take what the press has written about the case (essentially Mr Charles statement) and wrap it around it.

    On a personal level, I would really like to take that CCTV in its entirety (7 mins), show it to 100 people and ask them to script what they see happening, with no statement or knowledge of either party. I would like to know, when neither party states what is happening, what others infer is going on.

    1. FaIr play

      In addition to seeing the 7 mins CCTV footage it would be ideal to have sound to support it in evidence. From this the public would hear the comments made by mr sherriff while he was using his mobile phone for over a minute. As we know no phone call was made, so how could this be unprovoked ? I can understand why people and family need to think of Ashley Charles as some kind of monster and coward as described on Facebook before the trial had started but I really am sorry to disappoint all mr sherriffs supporters on bottle stop but that is so far from the truth. He is just an ordinary man from a descent loving family.

      1. Wine Legs

        So, we have two ordinary men from decent loving families, in a bar. One (M1) appears to make a phone call where we do not know what was being said. The other (M2), from what we can see, squares up to the man on the phone and deliberately tries to get in his face. M1 on the phone tries to move away from M2, still on his phone. M2 makes an unsuccessful grab for M1’s phone. M1 tries to move out of M2’s way again. M2 makes a second, quick sharp, aggressive grab for M1’s phone, again unsuccessful. He very quickly makes another very quick snatching movement for the bottle in M1’s other hand.

        As a result of this, and what we don’t see in the publicly available footage, one ordinary man from a decent loving family lost his life, and another ordinary man from a decent loving family has changed his forever, in an event that, in all reality,, took a short period of extreme anger and reaction.

        Sound would be hugely useful, of course, because we only have Mr Charles’ statement of what the phone call was about, but we don’t have that privilege, only the very clear CCTV which is available.

        On one hand we have Mr Charles saying that Mr Sherriff was making a call for support and using obscene words to describe Mr Charles. On the other hand we have what looks like someone pretending to be on the phone to try and remove themselves from an uncomfortable and aggressive situation.

      2. FaIr play

        Threats were made by mr sherriff, face to face and on his mobile phone, that I am 100% sure of. Ashley’s problem in court was that he couldn’t prove it. He did react as you have put. He reacted to being provoked when he should have turned away and walked off. But remember it was comments made by mr sherriff to a women that started the incident. A women for some reason he wanted to impress. Ashley Charles ignored these comments and for that he was pushed, at this point I don’t think there is anyone that would have just ignored it and so they exchanged words. Yes you can see Ashley face up to mr sherriff in the short section of cctv released by the police, a section biased against ashley. If you look through the stills you will see mr sherriff with his neck craned forward upto ashley but there is no mention of this. When mr sherriff used his phone to threaten Ashley Charles it escalated further. If threats weren’t being made why would Ashley make a grab for the phone, not once but twice. Of coarse he didn’t grab the phone, but in panic grabbed the bottle. If Ashley intended to cause harm why didn’t he just use the bottle already in his hand?? For me I will never understand how the police could charge Ashley Charles with attempted murder, for which you need an intent to kill. To then charge him with murder and appeal for witnesses to an unprovoked attack is shameful. Everyone deserves a fair trial.

      3. FaIr play

        No, that is true I wasn’t there that evening, but I would trust Ashley Charles 100% with my life and my children’s. It is fair to say that mrs sherriff was not there either, neither were the many people being abusive towards Ashley on Facebook, or should that be bottle stop??
        If bottle stop is about reducing incidents in pubs and at events then it would be more productive to mention plastic bottles and what is in the bottles and the real harm that drinking alcohol can do. To me it appeared to be a campaign for revenge and not justice. Yet again we see the public using social media sites to make comments about someone they have never met, spoken to or know anything factual about. If this is progress and justice then well done.

      4. Mancunian

        Of course you trust Charles 100% “with your life”. That’s what you do with people you love. It is up to the courts to take a more objective view. That’s what they did, and they decided that his testimony was untrue.

        I know very well why Bottle Stop was created, and I won’t try to change your mind on that but for the benefit of any other observers it had nothing to do with revenge or even the trial. The purpose is exactly as it says and I find it sad that you could malign a woman who has watched her husband die in front of her eyes due to the actions of Charles.

        Regarding the general public- high profile cases always attract comments. The vast majority of people who commented were commenting on what was in their opinion a violent act which was deemed by the courts to be murderous. As I’ve said below, whether or not Charles was/is a nice chap does not matter. He murdered somebody. Everybody is innocent until their first offence.

      5. FaIr play

        You say you know why bottle stop was created, but are you proud of what it has become? Are you sending a message to people that it is ok to drink alcohol to excess as long as its from a plastic bottle ?
        Is anyone supporting mr sherriff actually going to hold their hand up and acknowledge that he instigated the incident and provoked Ashley Charles.
        I would say that it is very likely that I high percentage of the supporters on bottle stop use their mobile phones whilst driving, tailgate on motorways and a few even drink and drive. These all have the potential to kill someone and if they did would you regard them as murderers and give them a sentence of Iife in prison?

      6. FaIr play

        If bottle stop had nothing to do with the trial please explain a post on facebook from Tim jones straight after the trial which read, justice done at the old bailey this morning, well done everyone involved,and let’s keep going – bottle stop.
        Would you expect a fair trial with a jury ?
        Those days have long gone I’m afraid .

      7. Mancunian

        Let’s say for a moment that you are correct. Let’s say that Mr Sherriff did provoke Charles. Let’s say that he did threaten Charles. Does that justify Charles’ actions? Clearly not. I get no satisfaction from his conviction, but he was justly convicted and sentenced accordingly. Between a friend of mine lying dead on a hospital trolley and a friend of mine being in prison but to be released at some point in the future, I know what I would choose.

        For the record, and using your level of ‘proof’ (based on the person you know), I am equally certain that Mr Sherriff made no threats nor displayed any aggression. I knew him for over twenty years and a less confrontational person you could not meet.

        I will not make any more comments on Bottle Stop. I am sorry that you feel that way about it but it is a genuine attempt at generating something positive out of this horror.

        Finally, I have tried to empathise and sympathise with Charles’ friends and family (if not the man himself). I see no such empathy or sympathy in return which I find shocking given that, unlike Mr Sherriff, Charles is alive and well albeit behind bars.

      8. Mancunian

        “If bottle stop had nothing to do with the trial please explain a post on facebook from Tim jones straight after the trial which read, justice done at the old bailey this morning, well done everyone involved,and let’s keep going – bottle stop.
        Would you expect a fair trial with a jury ?
        Those days have long gone I’m afraid .”

        I give up. I came on here only defend Phil and Bottle Stop against some of the more unpleasant and inaccurate accusations that have been made. I have tried to see things from the other point of view but it seems that courtesy cannot be extended. Instead there are ludicrous conspiracy theories that some how Bottle Stop has, in a matter of weeks, subverted a 400 year old justice system.

        The harsh truth is that your son/nephew/cousin/friend stabbed an innocent person through the throat with a broken bottle in the full view of a closed circuit television camera. For that reason, and for that reason alone, your son/nephew/cousin/friend will be in prison for the next decade and a half. Deal with it and stop trying to deflect the blame on to the true victims here- the deceased and the bereaved.

      9. FaIr play

        It’s the use of social media sites that can influence a decision in a trial, which is becoming more apparent over the last twelve months or so. when someone has pleaded not guilty with honest belief they face a public jury. It is my view that in such cases as this it should be down to a panel of judges that reach a verdict where emotion is not included.
        I feel for everyone involved in this incident, I respect your opinions but that is all that they are.

  17. Mancunian

    One further point I would like to add regarding a point of law.

    It was made very clear in court (I was there) that for a murder charge to be the appropriate conviction then the “intent to cause really serious harm” needs only to be in the defendant’s mind momentarily- even just for a second. The jury have deduced that in the split second when Charles lashed out, he intended to cause “really serious harm”. On that basis he is guilty of murder. Premeditation and previous character doesn’t come into it. Furthermore, even if he showed remorse from the second he dropped the bottle, it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law. He is still guilty of the offence.

    My own personal opinion, having seen almost all of the footage from different angles, is that there is no question that Charles was the aggressor. However, even if I am wrong on this you have to ask yourself whether or not his actions were proportionate to the alleged danger that he felt he was in. I am prepared to give Charles he benefit of the doubt and assume that the bottle was broken accidentally- it cannot be proven either way- but it seems inconceivable to me that he did not feel the bottle shatter in his hand and that as he brought it towards Mr Sherriff’s neck he knew that he was holding a dangerous object. He felt he was in danger (allegedly) and he had the option of fight or flight. He chose to fight, using a deadly weapon and as a result of this he is a convicted murderer.

    There are a lot of bar room lawyers on here. Myself included, though I am quoting the judge and the lawyers so I feel I am safe ground. Clearly some of the postings on here are from people who know Charles personally and are devastated by his incarceration. I can understand this. But the fact that he may have been a caring, compassionate, wonderful person up until this point does not change what he did. It also does not change the fact that the jury did not believe his testimony. Just because he was a nice fellow until he stabbed Mr Sherriff in the neck does not mean that he should not be found guilty of the offence, even though it creates an incredible amount of pain for his family.

    Finally, I have to say to Fairplay, Hope, Hope 21 and other supporters of Charles that Bottle Stop was never intended to influence the trial. This would have been a foolhardy approach that could have seen Charles walk free. References to Charles and proceedings were carefully avoided and comments which were too strong were deleted. Banners were not displayed outside court until after the verdict (contrary to one of the comments above). I know it must hurt that somebody you know and love will be in prison for a long time, but unfortunately for him that is the tariff for murdering somebody.

    1. Hope

      Yes you are right. People are absolutely devistated to what has happened to Ashley Charles, because people who know him, and are truly close to him, know he never intended to cause serious harm, as you put. But sadly it is Ashley Charles’ word against a dead mans. People are writing nasty comments on media sights, which is absurdly disgusting. Not one of Ashley Charles’ friends or family would post anything on a media sight. They have a lot of dignity. Ashley Charles is not fighting to be a free man, but he is in prison at this moment convicted of something he did not intend to happen. If this had happened to somebody you love and care about, you would be helping them to clear their name if wrongly accused murder. A lot of those people who write comments on media sights are all Hippocrates. I’m sure a good majority of them get in their cars and use their phones, or drink and drive. To me these are all moments of madness. But they seem to have got into a hate campaign, when the majority of them didn’t know Mr and Mrs Sherif. It feels like a witch hunt, I think it should be stopped. I pray Ashley Charles get an appeal.

      1. Hope

        Mrs Sherif seems to be putting comments on bottle stop that are very personal to get public support. Bottles are rarely mentioned which defeats the aims of the campaign. ‘May the bastard who did this to your family die a painful and agonising death’. Comments on the campaign page like this should be stopped.

  18. hope21

    ” It happened in a second, a second to take a person’s life ”

    As in the words of ” Fair and Square ” dated 26/11/2012

    “I don’t think anyone wins here. A man has lost his life and another’s has been ruined by a “moment of madness”. It was ruined the second after he swiped at Mr Sherriff. It was ruined without the 14 years sentence ”

    Enough said don’t you think ?

    1. Mancunian

      He’s still alive. If he’s lucky he’ll have 40 or 50 years of life to enjoy after release. That’s more than the length of Phil’s entire life. 14 years is not excessive.

      1. Hope

        14 years is too much for something you did not start and you did not intend for it happen. NO INTENT. Do you really think Ashley Charles should admit something he did not do. Would you?

      2. Mancunian

        He didn’t admit anything. He claimed self defence in an attempt do escape jail. The court disagreed and convicted him of murder.

        Funny, but nearly everybody in prison thinks they shouldn’t be there.

      3. FaIr play

        I’m sorry to repeat myself but Ashley Charles pleaded not guilty with honest belief. Belief that justice would be done in court by a jury.
        This was not an attempt to escape jail but what was the alternative. Plead guilty, avoid a jury get a reduced sentence and then not only have to live with the fact that somebody died from this provoked incident but also live with the fact that you went against your principles to serve a shorter term in jail. As we know serial offenders often plead guilty and include other offences to reduce their sentence.
        Ashley, had never been arrested before or had any dealings with the police, what option would you suggest when your not guilty of the charge against you, a charge of murder.

  19. fairandsquare1

    It woud be interesting to know whether a manslaughter charge was ever considered for this case. I don’t think anyone here, in support of Ashley, is doubting whether he should serve time. It seems to be more about loopholes in how the case was handled. And an example of that would be FairPlay’s comments regarding the gathering of witnesses for what was claimed to be an unprovoked attack. How would anyone be able to prove, at the point of getting witnesses, presumably shortly after the attack, that it was unprovoked? Surely, that is something that has to be proved during the trial. This alone goes to prove that professionals were already assuming the outcome without hearing the evidence in court.

    And in terms of Ashley’s version of events in court, what would have been a suitable story that you would have believed from him, Bottle Stop Campaigners? Come on, let’s hear it? Absolutely nothing, because, with respect, your son/nephew/cousin/friend died that night and no version of events can ever justify that for you, let alone anything that may question the behaviour of your son/nephew/cousin/friend in those final moments. This is understandable from your end but it doesn’t mean that Ashley lied in court.

    To add, Ashley didn’t stand a chance, whatever he said in court, because undoubtedly, the reputable and profitable company that Mr Sherriff worked for, were probably able to offer their highly influential legal services to the family of the bereaved at no cost. Power is a wonderful thing.

    When all is said and done, the sentencing is not comparative with other cases. Anyone heard about the guy who has just been released from jail, after four years, for murdering his wife? He inflicted 48 injuries on her, after finding out she was having an affair. One killed her. He then collected his daughter from school and pretended to his daughter that his wife was still alive. Violent, manipulative and premeditated behaviour from someone who had pledged to love and cherish the victim through sickness and ill health. He was found guilty of manslaughter, given 8 years and served 4. He is now back living in the family home with his two children.

    Enough said.

    1. Mancunian

      Every time I try to leave this page another ridiculous theory is postulated. To debunk your ‘theory’ Fairandsquare1, it is the crown that prosecutes a case, not the bereaved. That is why it is Regina v Ashley Charles, not Sherriff v Ashley Charles. Who Phil’s employers were has absolutely no bearing on this and Phil’s family had no need of legal advice as they were not part of the process. I’m amazed at your lack of understanding of the legal process.

      I will say no more. A murderer is doing time as he should and his family and friends cannot accept it as is understandable. That is pretty much all the above 273 comments amount to.

      1. Care

        I do not know either party but have felt strongly that Ashley Charles sentence is far too long. The actions of Mr Sherriff should matter in this case as if he had not made antagonistic remarks to start it All neither party’s lives would have been wrecked. The sentence is not in line with others.

      2. T

        To be fair 99% of the ridiculous theories and attempts to justify the actions of Charles are made either his family or friends. Everyone not wearing blinkers can see he is guilty of murder and is rightly in prison but not for long enough.

      3. fairandsquare1

        And I’m sure that 99% of the comments from those supporting the deceased are from the family and friends of the deceased. The remainder will probably be those that have signed up to Bottle Stop. The Facebook campaign that claims to be about banning glasses and bottles from pubs and clubs (but is really about colluding against Mr Charles).

    2. Mancunian

      FairPlay1 there is no ‘version of events’ that could have justified stabbing somebody in the throat- not with the CCTV there for all to see. Charles tried to construct one and failed.

      1. Hope

        One day things will be put right for Ashley Charles that I am sure of and that’s beause Ashley is NOT a murderer and that I am sure of to

      2. hope21

        ” Swipe” not stab, There is a difference. He did not ” stab” Mr Sherriff in the throat he ” swiped” to push him away in anger completely unaware the bottle had broken. As clearly shown on the CCTV footage he grabbed the bottle, which was whole, from Mr Sherriff, Yes in anger. Nowhere does he ” check” the bottle has broken, That was not his intention. Mr Charles is small and as he swiped at Mr Sherriff, who was taller than himself, the bottle connected with Mr Sherriff’s neck. Ashley Charles had absolutely no idea whatsoever that the bottle was broken at that time, therefore he never intended to kill him. Therefore he should NOT have been given a 14 year sentence which is the same length of time passed for someone who commits a murder that is premeditated.

  20. T

    Fairandsquare, bottlestop is about removing glass bottles from late night gatherings. And lets face it, if Charles had grabbed a plastic bottle he’d not be in jail for murder now, his friends and family shoud support the campaign as much as anyone else, yet they’re too busy blaming it and everyone else for his conviction. Charles used a broken bottle as a weapon, continually defending a murderer while pointing fingers at others says a great deal about a person.

    1. fairandsquare1

      T – you know what, I was going to join Bottle Stop for exactly the point you just made…….. but then it became very personal and abusive towards others and something I didn’t want to be part of. Keep the site aimed at its original purpose and you may get those numbers rolling again. Lastly, I don’t think anyone is blaming the site for Mr Charles’s conviction, sentencing maybe, but not conviction.

      1. T

        “Absolutely. It was intended to influence the trial and that’s why there was a huge push for signatures beforehand and also why banners were displayed outside the court during the trial, which they were told to remove immediately. ”

        Looks like some are though.

      2. fairandsquare1

        T – There was a good chance Mr Charles was going to be convicted. Somebody died because of the action he took. However, I will never believe that Mr Charles intended to kill Mr Sherriff.

        Mr Charles may have been seen for the person that he truly is, in court, if the site that we are referring to had been set up after the trial, for the purpose that it was intended. Had he been seen for the person that he is, he would not be serving 14 years in prison.

  21. T

    Hope – “One day things will be put right for Ashley Charles”

    When will they be put right for the victim then? Oh sorry, he’ll still be dead because of Charles’ actions.

  22. Observer

    Asa someone who knows neither of the two men, I can only say that I am glad that people who swing glass bottles in anger at others are able to be convicted and given a life sentence. It would make me feel less safe if people were allowed to go around doing that with impunity. Swinging a glass bottle at someone’s neck, pre-broken or not, is likely to cause serious injury or death. There can be no excuse for not knowing that, or for allowing yourself to get so drunk that you lose all sense of responsibility. Hitting someone with a glass bottle is not normal behaviour.
    I am sure the defendant has many people who love him, but however charming he is, and it sounds amply attested to in court, he has murdered someone. Had he not, it would have been a miscarriage of justice. As he has, he is in prison.No other reason but his own actions. Part of the point of prison is to allow people to come to terms with their actions, and no doubt he will do over the years to come.
    It seems that any campaign to ban glass bottles is equally in the guilty party’s favour, as he cannot be the only hot-headed young man behind bars because of a moment of madness and an all-too-handily available weapon. There are many other ‘Ashley Charles’ out there who may be saved from losing their freedom due to the campaign. It is a sad story for both parties, but whatever happens to Charles is irrelevant for the family who have lost their loved one. Success for their campaign would no doubt be a happy event, but as someone who has a very similar family set-up, I am sure not even that will in any way compensate their loss.

    1. Hope

      Yes you are right you don’t know either parties. I only know one family. But what people seem to be forgetting, is that on that night Ashley Charles was standing at a bar minding his own business when Phil sherif tried to intimidate him. It was said in court that he was joking, it’s easy to say things like that. But there has to be some responsibility for mr sherifs actions too. I am not saying Ashley Charles should walk free from a moment of madness, but he certainly shouldn’t have been given a life’s tarrif. My heart goes out to mr sherifs family for the terrible thing that happened that night. What people should think about is that if Ashley Charles would have been left alone at the bar, two people would be getting on with their lives and none of this would have happened. So many things have been said about this case that are not accurate. It all happened in a split second, and Ashley Charles is no more a murder than me or you.

      1. FaIr play

        The true actions of mr sherriff are never mentioned by his supporters in this debate. It is something that they wish to ignore because he has died. The fact remains that the provocation and threats caused Ashley Charles to feel in imminent danger which caused a loss of control and a moment of panic that he has to live with. To live on licence for the rest of your life for something that you neither started or intended to happen is not justice.

    2. hope21

      You are absolutely right, swinging ANY object at anyone is not acceptable but by doing that the question is did they Intentionally swing the object to kill that person? In this case no they did not. None of this is meant to take away the fact, tragically, that Mr Sherriff lost his life, no-one is more sorry, however much you choose not to accept it, than Ashley Charles himself and he knows he will serve time for his actions, The debate is the length of the tariff served to him. However what you do not and will not accept are the other version of events that sadly led to Mr Sherriff’s demise. It would be very interesting to know what led Ashley Charles to become so angry and act so out of character, maybe it was the previous 7 mins of footage that the public have not seen……………….

      1. FaIr play

        When Ashley Charles flapped out with that bottle,not only was there no intension to kill there was also no intension to cause harm. It was a reaction, a loss of control to defend himself from the imminent danger he felt.
        I would question not only the length of sentence but the Charge of murder.

    3. Hope

      Are you saying Ashley Charles was drunk? There is no evidence to suggest he was drunk. I’m not sure about whether mr sherif was. This is the problem, people are persuming things because somebody has lost their life. People are only seeing one side and judging the case. The press and media have portrayed the incident to be milicious and intended. The press and media choose what they want us to hear, see and believe. We are a nation that is ruled by media. The day after the incident happened, the headlines in a London based news paper were appealing for witnesses of an ‘unprovoked attack’. This is sending out the wrong message to people. How can that be justice.

      1. T

        He should be locked up for longer if he was sober.

        It doesn’t matter what the press report after the event, he was convicted by a jury who saw/heard all the evidence. Perhaps you should remember that he was convicted by fair trial of murder.

      2. FaIr play

        I feel this debate for me has come to its useful end.
        It seems that people may take offence if they don’t like what they hear.

  23. Observer

    I won’t accept that because there is not a shred of evidence and it was thrown out of court. No witness in a packed club, no CCTV evidence, and no phone evidence. I can understand that you do not wish to accept this, but without evidence you must.
    And it was not just any object that was swung. It was a lethal object. There is no excuse for not knowing that. He did not even swing forgetting that he had a bottle in his hand, he purposefully picked it up in order to attack him. These are just facts that you’ll have to accept to move on. Even if the victim did make the first remark (again – evidence) it is not acceptable to respond in the way that he did. It is in fact illegal and carries a life sentence. And we are all glad it does. I’ve lost count of the number of verbal altercations I’ve had in situations where people were drinking, but I’ve always been safe in the knowledge that no-one is going to try to seriously hurt me because of it. I am going to be a little more wary now, but that still would not make it my fault.
    The best that can be said about Charles was that he did not think of the consequences. Yes, it is a tragic waste for a moment’s stupidity, but it was gross stupidity with grave consequences for himself as well as the victim and it was his responsibility to control himself. I have to say I have severe doubts about how sorry he is if his friends and family are out spreading unfounded nastiness about the victim and his family. If he was really sorry, he would not want that to happen, but perhaps he is not aware of it.

    1. T

      “I have to say I have severe doubts about how sorry he is if his friends and family are out spreading unfounded nastiness about the victim and his family. If he was really sorry, he would not want that to happen..”

      Agreed! They’re not only forgetting there was a victim at all but trying to blame him for the outcome and making unfounded and unwarranted comments towards the family. There are some nice people in the world today.

  24. T

    “When Ashley Charles flapped out with that bottle,not only was there no intension to kill there was also no intension to cause harm. It was a reaction, a loss of control to defend himself from the imminent danger he felt.”

    Defend himself from a man he approached and trapped at a bar, defend himself by taking a bottle and using it as a weapon, yea right.

    1. Hope

      Observer – could you please tell me where the nastiness to the victims family is? I have never wrote anything nasty about the sherif family and never would. Those supporting Ashley Charles never would either. Your the person the doesn’t know either family’s and only getting information from media/hear say or on bottle stop.

      1. Mancunian

        “It’s hard for mrs sherriff and her family to accept that this was all started by comments made by mr sherriff in some attempt to chat a women up, I can understand that but what I find totally disgusting and unacceptable is the many number of people who have never spoken to Ashley and are using bottle stop via Facebook to place threats, vengeance and hatred towards him. Mrs sherriff has allowed this to happen from the start and it continues now. The day after the trial she appeared in the sun news paper, the lowest of the low, not to promote bottle stop but for her own satisfaction this followed by tv appearances where plastic bottles were hardly mentioned.”

        A direct quote from Fair Play on this very thread. I would consider what this person is accusing Mrs Sherriff of to be nastiness at best, downright malevolent is probably more appropriate.

    1. Hope

      I feel this is becoming like bottle stop. The comments that were put on bottle stop on Monday and Tuesday of this week are absolutely disgusting and those people should be ashamed of themselves. I will not let myself get in to a debate like that. Please remember all the comments made on bottle stop cannot be seen by Ashley so nobody is hurting him but just his family and friends and they don’t deserve that. If mr sheriff is running the show with bottle stop,she is the one person that can stop this before it goes too far. I do not feel like I have to defend Ashley anymore.

      1. T

        “If mr sheriff is running the show”

        Sadly he can’t run anything, he was murdered in an unprovoked attack.

        I do feel sorry for the victims family, they can’t show any public grief or sadness without the killers friends/family pointing fingers at them. The victims family set up a campaign to stop these types of murders happening in the future and the murderers supporters jump on it for the slightest remark. In effect the murderer took a mans life and his supporters are making sure the victims family continue to suffer – as I say, there are some nice people in the world today.

      2. Hope

        Is that the sort of person you are? I made a mistake and put mr instead of mrs. That’s why I will not be a part of this debate anymore because of people like you.

  25. T

    “That’s why I will not be a part of this debate anymore because of people like you.”

    To be honest I won’t be having a sleepless night. You obviously spend a considerable amount of time trawling Facebook and perhaps other forms of social media for ammunition to throw around in an attempt to defend a convicted murderer, if you think that raises you above someone that’s pulls you up on a typo then good luck to you.

    Ashley Charles murdered someone, he caused untold grief and suffering, yet people spend their time trying to excuse him and his actions. No wonder this country is in such a mess.

  26. T

    @Care, so a drunk guy at a bar is classified as someone provoking another to murder? Wow, bars around the country must be piled high with murder victims by now then.

    1. hope21

      @ T . How very sad and immature you are as a person. I pity you. You are trying your hardest to drag Ashley Charles friends and family into an argument but it will not happen. We are so much better than that and so much better than you.

      1. T

        The fact is friends and family of Charles have used this blog to complain about the conviction for months now, he was convicted at fair trail yet you won’t accept this. The friends and family of Charles keep making out not only he but they are the injured party, this isn’t the case, keep those facts in mind when complaining again.

  27. fairandsquare1

    It’s sad to think that once, this was a sensible blog from sensible people. I can’t say the same about it now. Over the last few days, particular individuals have joined the discussion that seem to be quite aggressive with their comments. They are not willing to hear or discuss anything other than what they choose to believe. I will always defend Ashley. There is not one part of me that believes he intended to do this. There is not one part of me that believes he provoked Mr Sherriff into that argument. And there is not one part of me that believes he is not remorseful. And the interesting thing is, everyone who knows Ashley feels the same.

    T – allow people their views and respect it. Put your own emotions to one side and don’t try to pick holes with ours.

    1. T

      You have not yet entertained any other view than Charles being innocent yet you expect others to, why? If you can’t entertain the fact he may be guilty why should we entertain that he could be innocent? Is it not hypocrisy on your part to do so?

    2. T

      ” this was a sensible blog from sensible people”

      Strange though you have not complained about those that suggest it wasn’t a fair trial because of banners being shown outside court during the trial – this was a lie yet you ignored it. Strange that you have not complained about those that were critical about the victim – you didn’t know him, there was no evidence to back up the comments yet you ignored it. Strange that you have not complained about be snide and nasty comments aimed at the victims family and friends. Strange that you didn’t complain about people suggesting there was a conviction because of the victim having a better lawyer – a suggestion which shows people really are grasping at straws yet again you ignored it. Strange that you have not complained about the numerous comments about social media influence during the trial – again there was not one shred of evidence yet you did not complain. If you want a sensible discussion why not request people stick to the facts of the case.

      Did the person convicted of murder take a bottle from the victim and use that bottle as a weapon – yes.
      Is 14 years in jail enough for murder – no.

    3. Observer

      I’m not disputing, by the way, that before that night Charles was a lovely boy, or that he did not go to that party intending to commit murder. I’m even happy to concede that he may not have started the argument, though there is no evidence in his favour and some against – it’s inconclusive. But irrelevant – he did take a glass bottle and shove it into someone’s neck, which killed them. He, and only he, has caused all this. That is the evidence. And even lovely boys who commit murder have to go to jail.

      1. FaIr play

        This will be my final comment on this blog.
        Observer.
        Until someone that is supporting the victim puts their hand up and admits that this incident was started by comments made by mr sherriff, followed by provocation and that he played some part in this tragic incident supporters of Ashley Charles will question why that is.
        Until they can give a realistic reason for him to use his mobile phone when there was no call made it will be questioned.
        While comments of vengeance and hatred remain on bottle stop they will question its cause.
        Evil Comments that have been placed on bottle stop should be removed as they were during the trial. Mrs sherriff should keep that for her own personal Facebook not a public plastic bottle campaign.

      2. Mancunian

        The reasonable explanation, the one which makes far more sense than the one offered in court, is that Phil pretended to be on the phone to diffuse the situation and avoid the nasty little aggressive man who was screaming in his face. The nasty little aggressive man did not like being ignored and reacted physically, trying to grab the phone. It is telling that even after Charles has lunged at Phil- twice- to grab the phone, Phil still doesn’t react physically to defend himself (although in that situation most people would). All Phil does is lean back over the bar to keep his phone out of reach.

        It’s time the supporters of Charles accepted that he has a violent temper. I would be surprised if this is the first time it’s reared its ugly head.

  28. Observer

    Is it really surprising that out of thousands of comments a few (by uninvolved strangers – the Internet is like that) respond emotionally about the perpetrator? You need to stop obsessing and accept that what Charles did was appalling, has ruined lives, and is sickening to think about. It is natural for people to be repulsed, and people will come out with emotional language. The best thing you can do is not look for it.
    The victim ‘s family must be in living hell, and they really need to be left alone. I understand that there is an appeal, which will drag them back into the nightmare again. The last thing they will want to do is cause hurt to Charles – why would they even want to think about the man who has ruined their lives? Justice has been done which is enough. They will desperately want to be able to forget him. But hopefully it will provide some closure to friends and family of Charles. There has to be acceptance that he deliberately committed a horrible crime. It wasn’t an accident, he wasn’t wrongly accused, and he bears responsibility for his actions however angry or inebriated he was. If he wanted to make amends, he and his family would start by ensuring the innocent family he has caused such pain to through his actions could try to rebuild their lives in peace without further harassment and twisting of the knife.

    1. Observer

      I’m glad you’ve acknowledged the campaign site was rigorously policed until after the trial, although the jibe about the widow’s Facebook page when it seems she has never posted anything publicly about Charles (other than her statement), you can’t know what she has on there and it’s very unlikely she’d give space to the man who’d destroyed her life is a bit much. There are very very few mentions of Charles on the campaign, especially in comparison to other media sites, and you are going to have to accept that he is convicted and is a despicable villain in the eyes of the public. He will be judged, but he brought that on himself. None of the comments you refer to are by the family or people close to them.
      Neither is it the victims friends and family who are responsible for the evidence or the trial or the judge’s summing up. It was the judge who said that Charles had told a pack of lies and had tried to construct an assassination of the victim’s character on no evidence. The victim ‘ s family are not responsible for that, nor are they obliged to open a retrial on an Internet forum. Justice has been done on all available evidence, much of which is not available to us here but was in court. If there was evidence of reasonable provocation then that would have come out in court. As there was no evidence, and indeed all available evidence points to the contrary, there is no way that anyone can say this is so. If you have evidence you should have submitted it to the court. If you do not, you are going to have to accept what there is. Using his phone, by the way, is not provocation in any way, and witness statements corroborate that he was trying to remove himself from the situation with it.
      What is clear is that Charles could have walked away, but instead killed a man in anger. I have every sympathy that he was immediately appalled by the realisation of what he’d done, which probably led him to try and construct his own reasoning, but that doesn’t turn back time unfortunately and he must face his punishment.

  29. hope21

    Yes the victim’s family must be in a living hell and whether you choose to accept it or not is irrelevant, but we all sympathise with that. However Ashley Charles’ family are also in a living hell and don’t worry they don’t want your sympathy they have enough support from genuine people that have known the family for many many years not 100k people who for some have absolutely no idea what cause they are supporting and know absolutely nothing about Mr and Mrs Sherriff’s past and nor do they know Mr Sherriff himself. So whilst we believe Ashley’s tariff is too high, we will continue to fight for him, whether you or Mr Sherriff’s family like it or not and we will fight for the next 14 years if that’s what it takes. So may I suggest you continue to fight your Bottle Stop cause and we’ll continue our fight for justice for Ashley Charles. I think that draws a final line under this blog don’t you?

  30. Pingback: Ashley Charles Appeal Update | UK Criminal Law Blog

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