A mother who has spent 25 years campaigning for tougher sentencing after her daughter was murdered has been hailed as an "incredible woman".

New measures outlined in last week's King's Speech will put the "worst offenders" behind bars for longer. Criminals will also be forced to face their victims in court, and hear first-hand testimony on the impacts of their crimes.

Doreen Soulsby's daughter, Joanne Tulip, was murdered in a horrific attack by Stephen Ling at her home in Stamfordham, Northumberland on Christmas Day 1997. The then-23-year-old stabbed 29-year-old Joanne 60 times, before carving images including swastikas and crosses into her body.

Ling, who remains in jail, also admitted raping Joanne - but the offence was left on file, with the judge of the trial feeling murder was the more serious charge. Mrs Soulsby has previously successfully campaigned to change the law so that that sexual offences are tried alongside murder to close the loophole surrounding monitoring on their release.

She is part of the "Killed Women" campaign which raises awareness of the "injustice" faced by bereaved families whose daughters, mothers, sisters and other relatives have been murdered by men. Furthermore, she took part in a review of the parole system in 2020, where she called for "openness" in high-profile cases.

She also recently met with justice secretary Alex Chalk to discuss her campaigning. The Telegraph reported that Mr Chalk pledged to "do everything he could" to help keep ling behind bars.

Under the new Sentencing Bill, set out in the King's Speech, the most horrific murderers will face spending the rest of their lives locked up. These include any murders involving sexual or sadistic conduct. The change in the law will mean that a Whole Life Order must be handed down in the worst cases, with judges only able to choose not to impose one in exceptional circumstances.

Whole life orders have been issued in approximately 100 cases since they were introduced in 1983.

Mrs Soulsby has been supported in her campaign by her local MP, Hexham's Guy Opperman. Mr Opperman helped organise the meeting between Mrs Soulsby and Mr Chalk, and praised the decision to include the bill in the King's Speech.

He said: "Doreen is an incredible woman, and she has run this campaign for many, many years.

"I am delighted that the Secretary of State has included a Bill in the King's Speech, so that no other victims will go through the same pain that she's been through."

As part of the bill, judges will also given more powers to make sure these horrific criminals attend court when their sentences are handed out to hear directly from victims and feel the weight of their crimes.

Through the Criminal Justice Bill, the government will make clear in law that reasonable force can be used to make criminals appear in the dock. If offenders still refuse, they will face a further two years in prison.

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