Murdered boy’s mum and gran speak of ‘disgust’ at ruling in first full interview

Child killer Anwar Rosser, who is appealing his whole-life sentence for the murder of four-year-old Keighley boy Riley Turner

Child killer Anwar Rosser, who is appealing his whole-life sentence for the murder of four-year-old Keighley boy Riley Turner

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Heartbroken Keighley mum Sharon Smith has voiced her disgust that the killer of her four-year-old son Riley Turner is appealing his prison term.

She said the “vile monster” should rot in jail rather than being given the right to challenge his whole-life term.

Speaking in the first in-depth interview to the press following the horrific murder of the little four-year-old in January 2013, Miss Smith said the judge who tried sadistic former soldier Anwar Rosser had been right to order he remain behind bars for the rest of his days.

Riley’s grandparents also share their daughter’s anger at the shock news Rosser’s legal team could take advantage of European human rights laws to overturn the sentence.

An emotional Miss Smith said: “We’re not bothered about his rights.

“No one wants him to have any rights. He should have been hanged.

“It just seems like it’s all for him. He should rot in jail.”

The Court of Appeal this week decided to grant Rosser a full hearing in his bid to overturn his whole-life term.

In the original court case held at Bradford Crown Court in February this year, sentencing judge Mr Justice Coulson told 33-year-old Rosser he “must go to prison for life”.

Rosser strangled and stabbed Riley repeatedly while the boy slept at his home in Harewood Road, Bracken Bank, in January last year.

Rosser pleaded guilty to the murder, and was branded “an exceptionally dangerous man”, who could kill another child, by the judge.

He also said the murder was a gross breach of trust of Riley’s family.

The sentence meant Rosser became only the 54th prisoner in the UK to be on a whole-life tariff.

Rosser’s legal team lodged an appeal against the sentence in March.

A judge has now ruled the appeal should progress to a full hearing, which is likely to set a legal precedent about the rights of British courts to impose whole-life tariffs.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled whole-life terms must be reviewed, but a Court of Appeal ruling in February enabled judges to continue imposing the sentences, with reviews only applicable where “exceptional circumstances” could be demonstrated.

Riley’s mother, speaking to the Keighley News this week, described the latest development as “disgusting”.

Sharon, who lives with partner Guy Earwaker, Riley’s twin brother Mackenzie, now five, and other son Tyler Earwaker, two, said the whole-life sentence had been the nearest the family would get to justice.

She added: “It will never be what we really want. Rosser shouldn’t even have lived.

“The judge in the trial knew how far he could go with the sentence. He knew how vile that monster is.

“We were told even if he appealed it wouldn’t go anywhere. But hearing he might get out early is frightening for us and for everyone.”

Sharon’s mother, also called Sharon, who lives in Bracken Bank with husband Tommy, said the latest news had “knocked the family for six”.

She added: “I don’t think Rosser should have any rights. Riley didn’t have rights when that man walked into his bedroom. He took a life then he was gone.

“It took 14 months waiting for the trial, not knowing exactly what had happened. Then we had to live it for five days listening to everything Rosser had done.

“It’s been like one kick after another since the court case. There was Mother’s Day to go through, then the other twin’s birthday without Riley. It’s like we haven’t had time to grieve.”

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