YEP Says, December 20: After 14 harrowing years, is this really justice for Gemma?

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...and YEP readers do us proud – again

FOR 14 long, painful years, Gemma Simpson’s family endured the agony of not knowing what had happened to her.

The 23-year-old from Leeds disappeared in May 2000 – leaving her loved ones and police desperate for clues.

In July their worst fears were realised. Martin Bell walked into a police station and confessed to bludgeoning and stabbing her to death.

For this, Bell – who pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility – has been told he will spend a minimum of 11 years behind bars.

The bitter irony that this is less time than they spent in purgatory not knowing Gemma’s fate has not been lost on her family.

Her dad, Glenn, said he was disgusted by the sentence. Many would agree with him.

While nothing can bring her back, does that term really give Gemma justice?

Then there are the troubling questions raised as to how Bell, a paranoid schiziophrenic, was at large among the rest of society in the first place.

He had been released from a mental hospital just six weeks before he carried out the killing. The doctor who discharged him accepted that the delusions had not disappeared at that stage.

It would now appear that was a mistake that Gemma tragically paid for with her life.

Half and Half donors do hospices proud

HOSPICES deserve far more support than they get from Government.

Instead of being given the funds they need to carry on doing their astonishing work, they face a constant struggle to find the money to keep going.

It’s why our long-running Half and Half Appeal is still so important to local hospices St Gemma’s and Wheatfields.

And once again you, our generous readers, have done us proud.

Your donations will help to ensure that the desperately ill, along with ther loved ones, receive the care and compassion they deserve. Thank you.