The family of Halifax mother-of-three Paige Gibson have spoken of their devastation and loss as her teenage murderer was told by a judge that he would have to serve at least 16 years in custody before being considered for release.
The 16-year-old drug user, who stabbed the 23-year-old in the chest during an early hours disturbance in June, was convicted of her murder following a lengthy trial at Bradford Crown Court on December 16.
Before a life sentence was imposed on the teen, prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC read out moving victim impact statements from her family.
Her mother Joanne said every morning when she woke up she had to remind herself that the murder had actually happened and it wasn’t just a very bad nightmare.
She described her daughter as “a kind, funny and loving” person who loved dancing and cheerleading as a child, but the court heard that issues as a teenager led to Paige becoming addicted to drugs.
“Crack (cocaine) was her escape route to help with the pain she was suffering, but in reality it just made everything worse,” she said.
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She said the teenager had shown no remorse for what he had done and had tried to blame others.
“He does not appreciate the devastation he has caused our family,” she said. “This tragedy has ripped out my heart and soul. I feel so empty, so hurt and so, so sad.”
Miss Gibson’s younger sister Brooke, who was pregnant at the time of her murder, said people didn’t know what Paige went through, but she was so glad to have so many happy memories of her time with her sister.
“I will never forget her. She was a massive part of my life,” she said. “The best big sister I could have hoped for.”
The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had armed himself with a knife from another flat at Weavers Brook in Cumberland Close, Ovenden, after a row with Miss Gibson over items she was supposed to sell so he and a friend could get drugs that night.
During the trial, the jury saw CCTV footage of the fatal stabbing which took place during a disturbance in a corridor outside the flat Miss Gibson shared with her partner.
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Miss Gibson collapsed to the floor after being stabbed in the chest and died from her injury despite her partner’s attempts to save her life on a nearby landing.
The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said he was sentencing the teenage on the basis that he intended to cause Miss Gibson really serious harm rather than to kill.
“She did not deserve to end her life stabbed to death through the heart in that shabby lonely corridor at about 5.25am on June 7,” the judge told teenager.
“Just because you, an angry unpleasant young man, were upset, enraged and full of resentment about the drugs you did not get.”
The judge said the teenager had been persistently going to Miss Gibson’s flat that night and his simmering anger had boiled over.
Judge Durham Hall said he took account of the psychiatric and psychological assessments of the teenager, but he concluded that the motivation for the crime was anger.
The judge emphasised that the 16-year term was the minimum the teenager would have to serve in custody before being considered for release.