Gosport mum is sent letter to son who was murdered in 2003

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HEARTBROKEN mum Joy Sims has told of the terrible moment she opened a letter addressed to her son who was murdered 11 years ago.

The 65-year-old said it left her shaking and upset at the memory of her son Jon Hancock.

Jon Hancock

Jon Hancock

The letter was sent after a blunder by Hampshire Probation Trust, a Ministry of Justice body.

It should have been addressed to Mrs Sims but a mix up meant her son’s name was used.

She said: ‘It shook me. I was upset to see John’s name like that – “Dear Mr Hancock”.’

The trust keeps the families of victims of crime informed about the progress of justice.

Mrs Sims, of Gosport, said in this case the letter dealt with a reorganisation of the trust.

She was told by the trust it was sent by mistake because somebody forgot to tick a box on a computer screen saying ‘next of kin’, which would have seen it addressed to Mrs Sims.

Mrs Sims claims she was told the same letter had been sent out to hundreds of other victims of crime across the county.

‘It’s a sensitive thing, especially for someone who’s recently had something happen,’ she said.

‘I was lucky that I could call my other son and tell him how upset I was, but other people might not have anyone to turn to.’

Mrs Sims said something should be done to avoid a repeat of the foul-up.

‘It’s all right somebody getting a rap over the knuckles, but there should be something put in place so it doesn’t happen again.

‘Just because someone’s forgotten to tick a box is not good enough at all.’

Mrs Sims said she called the Hampshire Probation Trust, which apologised and said letters of apology would be sent to all those affected.

She said: ‘I did give them a call and they were full of apologies and said that it was another department that had sent it.

‘They said that it was sent to a lot of people, and that they were really sorry and that I would be getting a letter of apology from them.

‘But I think that something this important shouldn’t be left to a quick apology.’

Mr Hancock, who was a father of two, was killed aged 29 in a vicious attack outside his Southsea home in 2003.

Four men were found guilty of murder and given life sentences and Mr Hancock’s estranged wife, Sharon, was found guilty of manslaughter for her part in the crime.

Case history

Jon Hancock was attacked in August 2003 in Portsmouth.

Robert Busby, 35, of Ashford in Kent and Angus Robinson, 36, of Richmond, London, were found guilty at Winchester Crown Court.

Michael Beagley, 47, of Hounslow and Mark Collett, 45, from Richmond, were found guilty of organising the attack, and were also given life sentences. The judge said each of the four men should serve at least 16 years in jail.

Beagley was the new boyfriend of Hancock’s estranged wife Sharon the court heard.

She was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced the three years in jail.

UPDATE: National Probation Service announces ‘urgent review’ after letter mistake