THE mother of Calne murder victim Ellie Gould has welcomed a possible change in the law that could result in teenage killers jailed for up to 27 years.

Carole Gould says changes likely to be unveiled this week by Justice Secretary and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland are a “step in the right direction” but don’t meet everything she wants.

Over the past two years, Mrs Gould has campaigned for a so-called Ellie’s Law which would see young offenders treated more like adults if convicted of murder.

Speaking to the Gazette, she said: “We are on the right track. It is a step in the right direction.

“Domestic crimes of murder are not taken as seriously as crimes of murder that happen in the street. I just want to close that gap and then everything falls into place and is where the public expects it to be.”

Thomas Griffiths was jailed for a minimum of 12-and-a half years after admitting murdering Ellie, 17, at her home in May 2019 after she ended their relationship.

The 17-year-old student stabbed her repeatedly in the neck in a frenzied attack before trying to make it appear her wounds were self-inflicted.

The pair were A-level pupils at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham and had been in a relationship for three months. By the time he was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court, Griffiths had turned 18.

Since Ellie’s death, Mrs Gould has called for tougher prison sentences for teenage killers, particularly those like Griffiths who are more mature.

Currently, the minimum jail term that can be given to a teenage killer is 12 years. For an adult the starting point for murder is 15 years.

Under the new laws set to be unveiled by Mr Buckland, teenage killers could be sentenced to up to 27 years for the most serious offences.

The Gould family wants someone like Griffiths, who was only five months away from his 18th birthday, to face a minimum term of 14 and-a-half years.

Mrs Gould said Mr Buckland had also agreed to remove teenage killers’ right to have their sentenced reviewed halfway through their term once they reach the age of 18.

Mr Buckland presented his sentencing White Paper to the Government last September but in a recent email to Mrs Gould said he plans to introduce a sliding scale for young killers aged 10 to 18.

The minimum tariffs for which the family has campaigned would only apply to offenders who take a lethal weapon to the scene of a crime. A higher starting point would be available to judges sentencing offenders if the defendant was closer to adulthood.

If the changes go ahead, Griffiths would lose the right to have his sentence reviewed.

Mr Buckland said: “It is not just about Ellie’s Law. It is a wider issue about the way we actually approach what is the most serious crime.”

He also intends to review the law on apparent spur of the moment killings where a sentence is reduced because a killer does not take a weapon with the intention to kill but instead, like Griffiths, uses a weapon at the scene.

The sliding scale for children convicted of murder would mean children aged 10-14 would face the minimum starting point set at half of the adult equivalent sentence.

Those 15 and 16 would face sentences at 66 per cent of the adult equivalent, while 17-years-olds would face sentences starting at 90 per cent of the adult equivalent sentence.

For the most serious offences, such as the murder of a police officer on duty, or a murder involving sexual or sadistic contact, the maximum sentence for adults is 30 years.

Under the proposed laws, a 17-year-old would face a minimum of 27 years in jail if convicted of the most serious murders.

Children aged 15 and 16 would be jailed for 20 years, and younger children would face 15 years in prison if convicted.

For 17-year-olds convicted of unpremeditated murders, where a weapon is not brought to the scene, as happened in the Griffiths case, the changes mean they would face a minimum of 14 years in prison.