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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Millom double killer has sentence increased

A DOUBLE killer who axed his mother and sister to death at their Millom home has had his sentence increased.

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JOHN JENKIN

John Jenkin was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum 12 year hospital order in Preston Crown Court on March 28.

Jenkin, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after axeing his 20-year-old sister Katie Jenkin and his mother 58-year-old Alice McMeekin to death in their home in Newton Street, Millom, on June 8 last year.

The sentence was reduced to a six year hospital order following a review but the Crown Prosecution Service referred the sentence to the Attorney General on the grounds of undude lenience.

A Court of Appeal hearing yesterday saw his hospital order increased from a minimum of six years to 13 years and four months.

The Appeal Court heard he was found to be 'psychotic' at the time of the killings and had told police he had either tried to, or had had sex with, his sister after killing her.

However, there was no evidence to support this and the court did not take it into account when considering whether to increase the sentence.

Lawyers for the Solicitor General argued that, in spite of his disturbed state of mind at the time, Jenkin still had 'substantial responsibility' when he killed his mother and sister.

They also said the fact there were two deaths, his lack of remorse and his 'self-induced' psychosis, through his abuse of drugs and alcohol, were all factors which worsened his crimes.

Bobbie Cheema QC, acting for Mr Heald, said: "The judge found that Jenkin had 'significant residual culpability' and the plain intention to kill both women is a significant factor."

Jenkin's lawyers argued the length of the minimum term was within the judge's 'discretion' and should not be interfered with.

But, increasing the sentence, Lord Justice Treacy said it was clear that the judge 'fell into error' when he reduced the sentence to six years.

Sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Judge Melbourne Inman QC, he added: "The judge's conclusion, after very careful consideration of the medical evidence before him, was that, though the offender had suffered from an abnormality of mind, his voluntary taking of drugs had triggered his vulnerability to psychosis and led to the killings."

Speaking after the judgment, Mr Heald said: “This was a truly tragic case, and my heartfelt sympathies go to the family of Alice McMeekin and Kathryn Jenkin, who lost their lives in this senseless attack.

“I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at this sentence as I felt the adjusted term of 6 years failed to reflect the seriousness of these crimes and dreadful impact the killings had. I hope the increased minimum term of 13 years and 4 months in some way offers comfort and reassuring the public.”

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