Hamer sentence increased
Date published: 30 January 2007
The minimum term of the life sentence imposed on 15-year-old Michael Hamer, who murdered Joe Geeling in Bury in March 2006, has today, Tuesday 30 January 2007, been increased.
The Gelling family issued the following statement:
"At long last we feel as though the C.P.S has finally achieved a more just sentence for our sons' killer, and we are very grateful for their efforts and perseverance.
In light of current debates on reducing the numbers of inmates nationwide we were fearful that a weak decision may have been the route taken, we thank the Courts for deliberating for so long and reaching this ruling.
We still believe that in this country there is not enough deterrent for young thugs and Would-be-Murderers but the ramifications of this precedent should be far reaching. We are proud of this news and we believe there is a massive silent majority of like minded people out there who will feel that this decision is a Victory for Common Sense.
Michael Hamer will still be a relatively young man when he is released from prison but obviously our personal loss will remain forever. At least for an additional 3 years, the nation will be a slightly safer place, especially for our young children.
Personally, we remain sceptical that offenders like Michael Hamer can ever be rehabilitated and we worry that he will re-offend but acknowledging the likelihood that he will be released back into society we hope and pray he gets whatever help he needs so that one day he may recognise the devastation and consequences of his actions and can show some true remorse.
Only time will tell now. We are left with no choice but to trust that our legal system has got this right.
Hopefully now our family can draw a line under this chapter of events and try to move on again."
Hamer (born 9/5/91) of Dalton Street in Bury pleaded guilty to Joe's murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment (detention during her Majesty's Pleasure), to serve a minimum of 12 years before he could be considered for release, on Monday 16 October 2006 at Manchester Crown Court.
The Attorney General referred the case to the Court of Appeal, contending that the original minimum term (tariff) was unduly lenient. The tariff has now been increased, meaning Hamer must serve a minimum of 15 years before he can be considered for release.
Detective Superintendent Martin Bottomley who led the investigation into Joe's murder said: "Sentencing is always a difficult exercise and I believe the Court of Appeal has delivered a balanced judgement on the facts of this horrific case. They have recognised that the aggravating features of Joe's vulnerability, the pre-planning, the luring of him to his death, the sustained attack, and the callous nature of disposing of Joe's body, taken together, all outweigh any mitigating features.
"I am pleased that Tom and Gwen have been given the opportunity to see the case heard and carefully considered by three of the country’s top judges and that they have got the news they were hoping for.
“It has been a long and difficult process for all the Geeling family and I hope that they can now take some comfort in the fact that Hamer will be in custody for an appropriate length of time and also that their feeling that the original sentence was too lenient has been upheld.
"Of course, today's judgement reflects the fact that he will only be released if and when it is safe to do so.
“I hope they can now start to look towards the future and rebuild their lives.”
Joe's father, Tom Geeling said: "At long last we feel we have achieved a more just sentence for our son's killer. We are thankful for everyone's efforts and perseverance in this process.
"Michael Hamer will still be a relatively young man when he is released from prison, but our personal loss will remain forever.
"However, we feel this judgement sets an appropriate sentence and is a victory for common sense. Hopefully we can now draw a line under this side of events and try again to move on".
Hamer lured Joe back to his house after school by giving Joe a letter claiming to be from his Deputy Headteacher, stating that he should go home with Michael. When they got back to his house, Hamer made a sexual advance towards Joe, which he resisted.
Hamer went downstairs, got a frying pan and went back up to his bedroom where he hit Joe over the head with it, the force of the blow caused the frying pan to break in two.
He then stabbed Joe sixteen times in the head, face and neck, before putting his body in a wheelie bin and taking it to a nearby park where he buried him under rubble on Wednesday 1 March 2006. His body was discovered the following day by a police dog handler, buried in a natural gully in a wooded area of Whitehead Park in Ainsworth Road.
The next day, Thursday 2 March 2006, Hamer arrived at school on time and appeared to treat the morning in school just like any other.
Within an hour of Joe's body being found, Hamer was taken from class and interviewed by the Deputy Head and then by police. He was arrested on suspicion of murder at 11.55am and was taken to Bury Police Station.
When police officers searched the boy's house, they found four drafts of the letter, which Joe received, one of which had been drafted three weeks before the killing. One of the drafts started off as a letter but then went on to make a sexual suggestion.
Michael Hamer was formally charged with the murder of Joe Geeling at 8.54pm on Saturday 4 March 2006.
Link to Hamer story October 2006 on AskBury