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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Mother backs 'family voice' plans
Composite picture of William Crompton and Fiona Ovis who were murdered in 1996

The mother of a murdered teenager has welcomed plans to give victims' families the chance to speak in court before their killers are sentenced.

Wendy Crompton's son William, 18, and girlfriend Fiona Ovis were murdered by Andrew Cole in Llandrindod Wells.

A UK government consultation paper proposes bereaved relatives address judges before sentencing.

Mrs Crompton said she had been frustrated by being unable to speak at Cole's 1997 trial and later retrial.

The impact of the murder should become part of the thinking when decisions are made about the offender
Wendy Crompton

According to the UK Government proposals, launched on Thursday, families of victims of murder or manslaughter could speak in person or via a lawyer or "victims' advocate".

Mrs Crompton's son William was murdered along with his girlfriend Fiona Ovis, 28, at a house in Llandridnod Wells in May 1996.

Andrew Cole, a former boyfriend of Ms Ovis, stabbed the pair 90 times after he found them together at a bungalow on the Pentrofa estate.

At the first trial at Chester Crown Court in 1997, the court heard that Cole was overcome by a jealous rage.

But his conviction was quashed after Appeal Court judges were told his deep-seated personality disorder had not been fully explored.

Picture of Llandridnod Wells murder scene
The double killing took place at a house in Llandridnod Wells

At a retrial Cole was once again found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mrs Crompton said on Thursday that despite Cole's life terms, not being able to say anything in court had frustrated her.

She told BBC Radio Wales: "I wanted to get across how devastating it was to lose a child to murder.

"I wanted to get across how we were lost without our child (and) how we have to serve a life sentence.

"Our family was destroyed, I've had to move away to a new area.

"It fragmented us - all the system and its dealings with us failed us."

'Humiliated and degraded'

She added: "The impact of the murder should become part of the thinking when decisions are made about the offender.

"I support wholeheartedly the idea that victims' families should be listened to and communicated with and not ignored.

Picture of Wendy Crompton (Pictured in 1998)
Wendy Crompton, pictured in 1998, said she had been frustrated by the legal system

"I felt ignored and I felt humiliated and degraded by the system - it isn't anything to do with us once it comes into the legal system.

"I can only hope for the families coming behind us that they do get that consideration.

"It isn't just about the offender, it's about the families that are left behind to pick up the pieces.

"I would have benefited from being heard."

The UK government has said the new proposals will be trialled in five courts from April and the results closely monitored.


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