A campaign by the Express & Echo, Exeter, to ban the sale of Samurai swords is set for victory after the Home Office said sale of the weapons could be outlawed by the end of the year.
The paper launched its campaign after a samurai sword was used to murder local man Matthew Stiling in July 2005 while he was trying to calm an argument which had spilled out of a nightclub.
His killer, Bradley Moran, was sentenced to life imprisonment last year. There have been 79 serious crimes in England and Wales involving samurai sword-type weapons in the past four years.
Backing the campaign were Stiling’s family, police chiefs, council leaders, Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw and 1,500 readers who signed a petition that was taken to 10 Downing Street.
Tony Blair told the Express &Echo in January that the Government was preparing to ban the sale of samurai swords and, on Monday, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker announced measures to ban the sale, importation and hiring of Samurai swords and impose a £5,000 penalty or a six month jail sentence for anyone who flouts the ban.
Coaker said: “Public safety is our greatest priority.
Samurai sword crime is low in volume but high in profile and can have a devastating impact.
Banning the sale, import and hire will take more dangerous weapons out of circulation, making our streets safer.”
Express & Echo deputy editor Andrew Howard said: “If our campaign helps save a single person from being hurt by such weapons again, it will have been worth the effort.
Our readers have come up trumps in helping us get a change in the law. Together we can make a difference to the lives of the people we serve.”