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Teenager Murderers' sentencing "unduly lenient"

Tributes left outside a house in Spalding, Lincolnshire. Credit: PA

The 20-year minimum terms handed to a teenage couple for the brutal "executions" of a mother and her daughter have been referred to the Attorney General for being "unduly lenient".

Believed to be Britain's youngest double-murderers, the boy and girl - both 14 at the time of the murders - had sex, shared a bath and watched four Twilight vampire films as they "revelled" after the stabbing of dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and 13-year-old Katie Edwards.

Now both 15, the couple were handed life sentences by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, who said the pair had a "toxic" relationship and acted in a "grotesque" way.

"Had you been adults you may have been facing the whole of your lives in prison for this double murder."

– Mr Justice Haddon-Cave

The case was referred to the Attorney General under the unduly lenient sentence scheme and law officers have 28 days to decide if any action should be taken.

A statement from the Attorney General's office said: "The threshold to refer cases to the Court of Appeal is very high."

A sentence can only be regarded as unduly lenient if there has been a gross error and it is significantly below the level that any judge could have reasonably imposed after considering the facts of the case."

– Attorney General's office

Two fifteen-year-olds given life for Spalding double murder

Video report by ITV's Peter Bearne.

49-year-old Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie Edwards.

Two 15-year-olds have been given life sentences, both with minimum terms of 20 years, for the murders of a school dinner lady and her daughter in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

The boyfriend and girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were both 14 when they murdered Elizabeth Edwards and her daughter Katie, 13.

The boy stabbed them both in their beds while they slept at their home in in April. He pleaded guilty to the murders ahead of a trial last month.

The girl, who had admitted manslaughter, was also found guilty of murder, after the court was told she was the "driving force" behind the killings, because she held a grudge against the victims.

The judge said the case had "defining and particularly chilling" features, including the young age of the defendants and that the offence was carefully planned.

As both teenagers remained composed in the dock, flanked by security guards, the judge condemned their conduct after the killings as "grotesque."

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Inquest opens into the deaths of Spalding mother and daughter

Charlotte and Claire Hart were killed in July.

The inquests into the deaths of a mother and daughter shot dead in Lincolnshire are taking place this morning.

50-year-old Claire Hart and her 19-year-old daughter Charlotte were killed near the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding on 19 July.

Lance Hart is believed to have shot the pair before turning the shotgun on himself.

Lance Hart

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Teenagers admit to killing Spalding mother and daughter

49-year-old Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie.

Two 15-year-olds have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a mother and daughter from Spalding.

The boy and girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are accused of killing 49-year-old dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie at a property in Dawson Avenue in April.

Tributes were paid to the mother and daughter Credit: PA

Relatives of the victims paid tribute on social media sites - with a teenage friend of Katie describing her as being "like a sister" and Ms Edwards as a second mother.

The two teenagers pleased guilty to manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court this morning, but denied murder.

The trial is due to begin on October 5.

Two brothers of Spalding shooting victims pay tribute

Charlotte Hart and Lance Hart were shot by their dad Lance Hart before he turned the gun on himself. Credit: University of Northampton

Two brothers whose mother and sister were shot dead by their father before he turned the gun on himself have spoken for the first time since the tragedy.

Charlotte Hart, 19, and her mother Claire, 50, were killed near the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding, Lincolnshire on July 19.

Lance Hart, 57, shot his daughter and wife with a single-barrelled shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.

Luke, 26, and Ryan Hart, 25, have now set up a tribute website named "Memorial to Claire and Charlotte Hart" to pay tribute to their mother and daughter.

Visitors to the site can share memories, pictures, videos and even light candles in the mother and daughter's memory.

The brothers wrote: "They were both very much loved and will always be remembered.

"Please share your memories and photos; let us help each other remember the wonderful people they were.

"Charlotte enjoyed making videos; especially surrounding horse riding and the dogs, and uploaded them to her YouTube channels. Enjoy :) "

The memorial website comes after an opening inquest into the deaths of the three family members last week revealed Lance had to be identified by his fingerprints after suffering a shotgun wound to the head.

They have also asked for donations to their favourite charity, Wood Green Animal Shelters.

In a tribute on the website, Luke said: "Charlotte and mum were both animal lovers. "They were both very much-loved and will always be remembered."

A full inquest will take place on October 19, when police have been asked by senior coroner for South Lincolnshire, Paul Cooper, to reveal how Lance had obtained the shotgun used.

Inquest opens into Spalding shooting deaths

Scene of the shooting Credit: ITV News

Inquests have opened into the deaths of three people from the same family who were shot dead in Spalding.

Charlotte Hart, 19, and her mother Claire, 50, were killed near the Castle Sports Complex in the Lincolnshire town on Tuesday July 19.

Lance Hart, 57, shot his daughter and wife with a single-barrelled shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.

The brief hearing at South Lincolnshire Coroner's Office in Boston heard that Charlotte was shot in the upper abdomen and was identified by her brother, while her mother was shot in the chest and abdomen and was identified by comparison with a photograph.

Mr Hart suffered a shot to the head which was self-inflicted, and was identified by his fingerprints, the inquest heard.

The full inquest will take place in October.

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