STOURBRIDGE Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb has said she will support new legislation forcing convicted criminals to attend court for sentence and to hear from their victims’ families.

The MP's pledge comes after several high-profile murderers, including child serial killer Lucy Letby and Thomas Cashman, the murderer of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, refused to attend sentencing recently.

Although there has been some debate on whether judges can force offenders to appear, many people believe only new and clear legislation will ensure offenders are brought to the dock.

Stourbridge News: Stourbridge MP Suzanne WebbStourbridge MP Suzanne Webb (Image: Suzanne Webb MP)

Suzanne said: “It cannot be right that criminals can languish in their cells and avoid the impact statements from victims’ families and what the judge has to say of their crimes.

“The Prime Minister was right when he said it was cowardly and it is something that is increasingly happening and needs to be stopped.

“It is an insult to the victims, to their families and friends and to the justice system.

“It is a matter for the Ministry of Justice how it proceeds with any legislation but I would support strong measures to make sure all those convicted are in the dock for sentencing and to hear first-hand the emotional and physical trauma of what they have done.

“That may be an increase in prison time for those who refuse to attend or other measures like a loss of privileges while in prison in rare cases like Letby when a whole life tariff was given.”