‘Nothing will fill the hole left in my life’

Philip Sherriff
Philip Sherriff

The widow of Philip Sheriff, the Scorton father-of-two murdered with a bottle at a London party, has vowed to continue her safety campaign as her husband’s murderer begins a 14-year jail term.

Ashley Charles, 26, slashed the throat of Philip Sheriff, 37, in front of hundreds of revellers on April 3.

The blow, which was captured on CCTV, severed Philip’s carotid artery and jugular vein.

Partygoers at the Pulse nightclub on the South Bank fought to save him, using clingfilm to stem the massive loss of blood, but he died four days later.

Charles denied murder, claiming he lashed out because he feared Mr Sheriff was going to attack him.

But he was convicted after a two-week trial at the Old Bailey.

Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 14 years, Judge Paul Worsley told him: “You took a life for no better than reason than that your victim may have pushed you at a crowded bar and made some inoffensive joking remarks to a girl who was talking to you.

“You destroyed by your actions so much that was good in that family.”

Mr Sheriff’s widow Jane sat in the well of the court throughout the trial and sobbed and embraced members of her family as the verdicts were delivered.

She said of her late husband: ‘I’ve always known that whatever the outcome of today nothing will fill the massive hole left in my life.

“I will be fighting hard to ensure no other family experiences the hell we’ve been put through.

“Now I face the challenge of moving on to the next chapter in my life.”

She and her two children, aged five and eight, are still being treated for post-traumatic stress and she has been unable to return to work.

She has started a campaign – Bottlestop – to ban glass bottles from late-night city centre bars in the wake of her husband’s death.

A petition backing the campaign attracted the 100,000 signatures necessary to trigger a debate in Parliament days before Charles’ trial.

Mr Sheriff was at a party organised by his employers at the nightclub. He and Charles clashed just after midnight while jostling for space at the free bar after chart star Jessie J had finished a performance.

Detective Inspector Richard Beadle said: “It is fair to say that after Mr Charles attacked him Philip didn’t have any chance of survival.”