ONE of Garry Newlove’s killers has failed in a bid to have his prison sentence reduced - although he could walk free this summer.

The dad-of-three died at the age of 47 in August 2007, two days after he was brutally attacked by a gang of teenagers outside his family home on Station Road North in Fearnhead.

Jordan Cunliffe, then aged only 16, was convicted of Mr Newlove’s murder at Chester Crown Court in 2008 under joint enterprise - alongside 19-year-old Adam Swellings and 17-year-old Stephen Sorton.

Cunliffe was handed life imprisonment and told to serve at least 12 years behind bars, but has now ‘pleaded’ with a High Court judge to have his sentence cut.

The killer is now registered blind due to a severe eye condition called keratoconus - which causes thinning and bulging of the cornea - although he does retain some vision.

Lawyers acting on his behalf argued that the 12-year sentence for murder should be cut because of this, as well as the now 27-year-old’s ‘exceptional and unforeseen progress’ in prison.

Warrington Guardian: Jordan Cunliffe

Jordan Cunliffe outside Chester Crown Court in 2008

Prison officers have described Cunliffe as ‘amiable, cheerful, positive, pleasant, chatty and cheerful’, while the inmate has also passed GCSE maths and obtained other qualifications - including a bronze Duke of Edinburgh award - while behind bars.

Now housed in an open prison, he has also spent time in the community on licence - with a legal team arguing that his behaviour had been ‘exemplary’.

But Justice Martin Spencer refused the application, highlighting that Cunliffe still denies involvement in Mr Newlove's murder.

He told the court: “Whilst he has acknowledged the impact on the deceased's family of the murder, and to that extent has demonstrated empathy in general terms, he still denies participating in the attack on Mr Newlove.

“There cannot therefore be true remorse.

“Cunliffe has undoubtedly made very good progress across a wide range of areas, but it cannot be said that his progress has been both exceptional and unforeseen.

“The absence of true remorse and the complete lack of an acceptance of any responsibility for the part he played in the murder is an important negative factor, although not conclusive in itself."

“It is greatly to his credit that he has developed into a mature and responsible young man, and has resisted peer pressure throughout his sentence at a time when prison conditions have been particularly challenging.

“But the process of parole will have to take its course once Cunliffe has served the minimum term set by the trial judge."

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However, Cunliffe could be freed from prison as soon as this summer.

His minimum sentence is due to expire in August this year, when he will be able to apply to the parole board to be released.