'Absolutely disgusting': Lancashire Post readers react to sentencing of Preston College student jailed for manslaughter of 86-year-old pensioner

A Preston College student has been jailed for four years for killing a Fulwood pensioner after hitting him in the face. What do Lancashire Post readers think about the sentence?

By Laura Longworth
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:45 pm

Mohammed Al Aaraj,19, will serve time in a young offenders institution for the manslaughter of Frank Fishwick.

The 86-year-old was in his flat in the Paddock, close to Preston College, on September 10 last year when a number of students, including Al Aaraj, began congregating there. Mr Fishwick shouted out of the window asking them to leave the private property, before going outside to speak with them. When they refused to leave, the pensioner used racist language towards one of the teenagers, later apologising. Al Aaraj then climbed the stairs and hit Mr Fishwick on the nose.

When Lancashire Post reported on the teenager’s sentence, several people spoke out about its severity.

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Mohammed Al Aaraj, 19, of Sheffield Drive, Preston, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He entered a guilty plea in December 2021, and on Wednesday, March 16) at Preston Crown Court he was sentenced to four years in a young offenders institution.

One reader, Frank Mcfetridge, said: “Disgraceful sentence; [he’ll be] out in less than two years for taking a life.”

David Newbold believes the punishment should have been tougher, saying: “So, the life of an 86-year old-veteran is only worth four years? What an insult to the victim and his family. [He] should have got life!”

Meanwhile, Cheryl Brassington commented: “Life is obviously deemed to be so cheap now.”

Deb Hewitson agrees, saying: "What kind of kid punches an 86-year-old in the face? I wonder if he’d punch his grandad in the face? It’s about time the lawbook for sentences got reviewed because while judges are only allowed to give out sentences by the guidelines of these books, crimes like this will continue. It’s absolutely disgusting. RIP Mr Fishwick.”

Frank Fishwick, from Fulwood, 86, was assaulted and later died of a head injury

And Samantha Gillibrand said: “What message is this giving kids these days? Go kill someone with a punch and you will be OK in two to four years.”

Natalie Coyle added: “So you can now go round killing people because they say stuff to you.”

Finally, Beverley Moorby said: “It's true when they say one blow can kill and like the article states they had a choice to walk away when told to do so, but he thought he would be the big man and show off to his mates. Well, where are his so-called mates now.”

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Mohammed Al Aaraj at Preston Magistrates Court