Readers' Letters: Jill Barclay's killer should never see light of day again

The sentence meted out to the murderer of Jill Barclay does not reflect the monstrousness of the crime: why are Scottish judges note-0apparently unwilling to hand down whole-life sentences with no chance of parole for the most unbelievably savage of crimes?
Rhys Bennett must serve a minimum of 24 years for the murder of Jill BarclayRhys Bennett must serve a minimum of 24 years for the murder of Jill Barclay
Rhys Bennett must serve a minimum of 24 years for the murder of Jill Barclay

This sub-human would not even be 50 if he were released after his 24-year sentence. This killer should never be released and his eventual corpse should be burned in the prison furnace without any form of ceremony. May you rest in peace, Jill.

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

No parole

The murder and rape of Jill Barclay by Rhys Bennett is one of the most horrible crimes that one could imagine. Bennett has been sentenced to “life” imprisonment but will be eligible for parole after 24 years.

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He may well never see the light of day again and doesn't deserve to, but as recollections fade and a parole board will make a judgment on the basis of historic records, one must wonder why this individual should be considered for parole at all and not spend the rest of his life behind bars. Jill Barclay’s family and friends will all serve “whole life” sentences with their memories.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Jagged edge

I find it very disappointing that people confined to their home have to wait so long for the latest Covid jags.My husband, aged over 80, has waited eight weeks and still no letter confirming a home visit, despite us informing the NHS helpline at the beginning of April and querying this a couple of times!He has just had a phone call asking why he hasn’t had his jab... Help!

E Morton, Edinburgh

Closing doors

I am with Joanna Cherry MP in her call in the House of Commons for immigration laws to be devolved to Scotland. Ms Cherry highlighted that first we have Brexit, now the target is overseas students and their families, policies that are damaging Scotland’s reputation and economy monumentally. Will the Conservatives stop at nothing in their efforts to close the door to overseas investment and workers to the UK ?

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

Highland win

Aboyne Highland Games is to be congratulated upon its decision to introduce “female-only sporting events” (your report, 25 May).

Although I am unsure what the “intimidating atmosphere for women athletes” referred to may be, I can hazard a guess that it refers to the attempts by self-identifying “women” who are biologically male to enter women’s events and win them due to their superior lung capacity, or muscular development gained during male puberty.

The Government is now considering changing the rules, I believe, following Alister Jack ruling that the biology-defying Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill introduced by the SNP “would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation”. The SNP’s legislation would have seriously impacted upon and discriminated against women who were born as such. All Scots will be warm supporters of such Westminster legislation, which is based in the real world.

By all means, if the Games wish to do so (and I don't know if they will), they could have an event for men who wish to be called “trans women”.

I can only sympathise deeply with someone who is so at odds with their genuine sexuality and biology that they take carcinogenic hormones and undergo surgery to alter their identity. These are very fragile people in many (though not all) cases, but their fragility should not and must not be at the expense of women who have had a century of struggle to reach parity with men, only to have it snatched away again by other men.

Peter McGlashan, Dundee

Off his chest

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Hot on the heels of my recent negative engagement with my LPG supplier (Letters, 25 May), I sought assistance from my local health centre for a nagging and persistent chest infection. I was told that, it not being a medical emergency and the day’s allocation being full, I was required to phone at 8am the following day for triage. I duly phoned, to be met with an engaged tone. Like my chest infection, however, I persisted and was eventually rewarded by becoming number 12 in the queue.

I got through to the receptionist after a relatively short wait only to be told that I was now “too late” and would have to go through the same process the following morning (assuming I survived the night).

The conclusion to be drawn from this, surely, is that NHS Scotland is no longer able to provide an adequate treatment service for run-of-the-mill health complaints. No wonder Scotland is rushing headlong into a two-tier health system.

David Edgar, Symington, Biggar

Saving time

Now that there are so few banks remaining do we still need so many bank holidays?

Mary Douglas, Glendearg, Galashiels

Take control

Correspondents Jill Stephenson and Alexander McKay (Letters, 25 May) are adept at diverting from UK Government incompetence and making misleading statements while accusing others of promoting “fake news”.

According to Ms Stephenson, “Holyrood receives all of the revenues it collects in tax, plus an extra £12-15 billion every year from HM Treasury” but she omits to mention that Holyrood only collects a minor portion of the taxes raised from Scotland while the UK Government continues to borrow at an alarming rate. UK Government debt is now approaching £3 trillion, which at current interest rates is equivalent to costing Scotland around £10bn per year, so overall, HM Treasury is certainly not doing Scotland financial favours, especially as many of the spending decisions, even if they had been made by a more economically competent government at Westminster, would not have been made by a prudent, independent Holyrood government.

Scotland also shares the huge costs of a litany of UK Government procurement disasters, but while billions of pounds go up in smoke due to the UK Government’s procurement of PPE from companies that had no history in PPE manufacturing, and the latest estimate of the shortened HS2 “cost overrun” doubles the previous estimate of £65bn, Alexander McKay attempts to distract readers with complaints such as the cost of Angus Robertson attending a “climate event” in Austria.

Perhaps with a little more objectivity Ms Stephenson and Mr McKay might come to agree with the majority of our population (according to the latest Ipsos poll) that the people of Scotland should determine their own future.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Help the SNP

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It really is time that we all gave the SNP a real helping hand. I don’t mean something pointless like voting for them. Sometimes, one has to be cruel to be kind and they do need to be put out of their misery.It would be pointless to list the pig’s ear they have made during their prolix period in “government”, but, of course, government is exercised by governments and the SNP aren't one. A circus, perhaps. A lead balloon? Indeed. A ship holed below the waterline… analogies aplenty for the sheer ineptitude of Nicola Sturgeon's “legacy” and Humza Yousaf’s misery.

Now, on top of ferries that don’t sail and aluminium plants that cost us well over half a billion pounds and don’t create 2,000 jobs, we have yet more of Scotland’s beautiful landscapes destroyed by hideous, economically and environmentally destructive wind-turbines. Places for Scottish students at Scottish universities are limited because the SNP want foreign students to benefit them, to name but a few of their utter failures.

However, passing by deposit return schemes that may bankrupt small Scottish businesses and gender “reforms” that undermine advances in womens’ lives over the last 50 years, we have the latest news that 34 per cent of Borderers go to England to avoid SNP increases in the price of the alcohol they want to buy.

It is time that we voted these people out. It's for their own good. Just think. They might even get real jobs and learn how the world works. Barely one of them has ever worked in their lives. So, give the SNP a real hand and vote them out at the earliest opportunity!

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

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