Backlash against joint enterprise campaign

Toni Murphy from Rainhill, holds a photograph of her boyfriend, Gerard Childs, who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise.
Toni Murphy from Rainhill, holds a photograph of her boyfriend, Gerard Childs, who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise.

A Rainhill woman whose boyfriend is serving a life sentence for murder has been heavily criticised for her campaign against the joint enterprise law under which he was convicted.

Gerard Childs was charged alongside Stephen Price for his role in the murder of Jonathan Flitchett, 22, in December 2013, and his girlfriend Toni Murphy told the St Helens Reporter he is the victim of injustice.

Gerard Childs who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise is pictured with girlfriend Toni Murphy

Gerard Childs who has been convicted of murder under the law of joint enterprise is pictured with girlfriend Toni Murphy

But her outspoken stance has drawn criticism on the Reporter’s Facebook page, with dozens rallying against her campaign.

Stephanie Vickers wrote: “Is she joking! I would feel ashamed if I was her I definitely wouldn’t want my face in the news if I was a girlfriend of a murderer and definitely wouldn’t be supporting my fella if he did murder someone. They both should of got longer in prison.”

Megg Ward posted: “Jonathan’s birthday this month, he won’t be here to celebrate and it will be another day his family will have to grieve and remember what happened to him even more so than a normal day. Wrong on so many levels.”

In July of last year, Childs and Price, both 28, were given hope in their bid to appeal their convictions when Mr Justice Irwin at London’s Appeal Court ruled their cases were “arguable”.

Ms Murphy took part in demonstrations by the Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (JENGBA) at Liverpool Lime Street station on Friday (February 6) as part of a day of nationwide protests.

Demonstrations also took place in London, Leeds and Leicester against the law.

Under joint enterprise law a person may be found guilty of another’s crime if they knowingly assist or allow that person to commit the crime.

“It’s an exciting time for us as Gerard’s appeal is pending,” said Ms Murphy. “It would be brilliant, with the forthcoming election, for joint enterprise to be debated by MPs too – as it needs to be. Hopefully the Government will either abolish the law of joint enterprise or, at the very least, seriously reform it.”

The Justice Committee urged a review of joint enterprise law following a report by MPs in December.