THE mum of a teenager who was stabbed to death has hit out at the Deputy Prime Minister for not backing tougher sentences for knife crime.
Jen Singleton spoke out after Nick Clegg claimed that mandatory prison sentences would increase offending, result in innocent people behind bars and hit the prison population.
Those words have angered the mum of Lewis Singleton, who was just 18 when he was stabbed to death in Woolston in 2007, and she has urged the leader of the Liberal Democrats to step into “the real world”.
The Conservatives want to introduce an automatic prison sentence for offenders caught twice with a knife – a move backed by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who said that similar measures for gun offences had led to a drop in the number of young people being picked up with the weapons.
But Mr Clegg said that mandatory sentences could lead to innocent people being imprisoned or young girls coerced by gang members into carrying weapons being jailed when they were really the victims.
Mrs Singleton said: “I don’t think he is in the real world.
“He needs to come down and speak to people affected by knife crime and not just pay lip service to this issue.
“If I came face-to-face with him I would ask him how he would feel if his son was stabbed as he walked home by a gang of six.
“How many chances do they get? My son didn’t get a chance, yet those who carry knives are given chance after chance.
“I’m not sure that there are the prison spaces for this to happen, but they need to get some automatic punishment if they are cautioned but are still found carrying a knife.
“We need a whole programme that is wrapped up around short-term sentences and it should be mandatory that all schools teach about the dangers of knife crime.
“This is not somebody’s problem, it is everybody’s problem.”
Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has called for offenders caught twice with a knife to face an automatic six-month jail term.
Mr Grayling wants mandatory jail sentences to be introduced through an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which returns to the Commons on Monday.
Defending his position, Mr Clegg said: “All my political life, I know it is difficult, I know people just want to think there is some instant solution for every single crime under the sun, but all my life I have always believed that the best way to deal with crime... it’s better to be smart on crime than sound tough but actually doing things which help increase crime.”