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Minimum terms

High Court setting of minimum terms for mandatory life sentences under the Criminal Justice Act 2003

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Neutral Citation Number: [2007] EWHC 13 (QB)

Case No: 2004/528/MTS

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 08/02/2007

Before :



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Approved Judgment

Schedule 22 para 6 Criminal Justice Act 2003

The Hon Mr Justice Gibbs:

1. On 16th May 2003, having been convicted of murder after a trial, Richard Graham Kemp (“the offender”) was sentenced to life imprisonment. I recommended a minimum sentence of 16 years as necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and general deterrence. It now falls to me to set the tariff applicable to the offender pursuant to the provisions of Schedule 22(6) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, responsibility for the setting of tariffs having passed from the Home Secretary to the High Court.
2. Pursuant to section 29 of the Act and Schedules 22(6) and (7), in considering the seriousness of the offence, I have had regard to the general principles set out in Schedule 21. I have reminded myself of my recommendation and the reason for it. I have also had regard to the provisions of  section 67 of the Criminal justice Act 1967 relating to the time spent on remand.
3. On 16th July 2002 the offender who lived in Gosport travelled by ferry to the Isle of Wight. He spent several hours in a woodland area, a local beauty spot, during which time he removed his clothes and masturbated. He then approached the victim, Camilla Petersen, a 15 year old Danish girl on a school visit, as she was sitting sketching. He made sexual suggestions to her; despite her protests he removed her clothes and indecently assaulted her. She resisted, but did not put up a violent struggle. The offender dragged her to a quieter spot, made a ligature from her clothing, and strangled her. He did not ejaculate, nor did he kiss her, because (as he later told the police) he did not want to leave forensic evidence. For the same reason, he took away and destroyed her watch and sketchbook. Before he left her, he checked that she was dead. He went home. The next day, he returned to the island, took an overdose of paracetamol, and gave himself up. He made detailed admissions to the police in interview. The videotape of the interviews showed the offender to be impassive and matter-of-fact in describing what he had done.
4. The offender does not wish to make any representations and has not requested an oral hearing. Camilla’s mother, Mrs Lonni Peterson, who came from Denmark to attend the trial, has submitted a victim personal statement. This describes vividly the devastating effect that the murder has had upon her and her family. It is a particularly sad case.
5. Applying Schedule 21 of the 2003 Act, the starting point would have been 30 years, because the murder involved sexual conduct and was of a particularly high degree of seriousness (Schedule 21, paragraph 5(1)(a) and 5(2)(e)). I must however have regard to the practice of the Home Secretary in relation to murders committed after 31st May 2002 and before 18th September 2003 as reflected in the Practice Statement handed down on 31st May 2002. I have to assess what the appropriate minimum term would have been at the material time.
6. As to that, I said in my recommendation following the trial:“I consider the appropriate starting point for the tariff is 16 years, because of the age of the victim and the sexual assault on her before the killing.”
7. There were the following additional aggravating features: the fact that the killing appeared to be a cool and deliberate act, not accompanied by any loss of self-control; the steps taken to destroy and conceal the evidence; and the offenders’ previous convictions in the early 1970s for indecently assaulting children, at least one of which involved a significant degree of violence.
8. Mitigating features were: that the offender gave himself up the following day, and admitted the killing; and that he had an abnormality of the mind, albeit not such that the jury accepted his defence of diminished responsibility. Whilst not showing remorse, the offender recognised the enormity of his actions.
9. Having reviewed the case with care, I conclude that my recommendation of 18 years was appropriate. An increase of two years above the starting point is justified by the aggravating factors. Had the offence been committed after 18th September 2003, the correct tariff would have been higher, but it is important to view the matter as at the date of the offence, and not impose a retrospective increase. Accordingly I find the appropriate tariff to be 18 years. Under section 67 of the 1967 Act, there falls to be deducted the time spent in custody before sentence, namely 9 months and 26 days. Accordingly the time set will be 17 years 2 months and 4 days.
10. Finally I consider it right to refer to the matters set out at paragraphs 8 and 9 of my report of 21st May 2003. In the 1970s the offender spent some years in Broadmoor under a hospital order with an indefinite restriction on his release. He was diagnosed as having a psychopathic personality disorder. Both the offender and a psychiatrist instructed on his behalf said that he represented a danger when at liberty. It seems to me that he would pose a serious danger to children and young people if he were ever to be released. I would ask that this judgment be kept on the file and referred to the Parole Board if any application for release is made.



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