Brooke Kinsella calls for longer sentences for domestic killers | Politics | News

Former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella is urging the government to close a loophole that sees shorter sentences for murderers who use a weapon that was already at the scene.

Kinsella, whose brother was stabbed to death, has already succesfully campaigner for harsher prison terms for knife murderers. She is now urging the government to look at the loophole that is robbing hundreds of families of justice when their loved ones are murdered at home.

The government now says it is looking into removing a ten-year discrepancy in murder sentencing that experts have referred to it as one of the most significant “remaining open sores” within our justice system.

Currently, a killer who murders their victim with a knife “taken to the scene with intent” will have a minimum sentenced of 25 years. The sentence was increased following a campaign from Ben Kinsella’s family after the 16-year-old was killed in north London in 2008 by three strangers.

However, “Ben’s Law” does not include domestic killers who use weapons found at the scene of their crime. Starting sentences there are 15 years.

Activists say this creates a worrying situation where a man who brutally murders his wife following years of torment, stabbing her multiple times with a kitchen knife for example, possibly in front of their kids, then dismembers her body and lies to police still only receives a sentence starting at 15 years – solely because he used a weapon that was there already.

Brooke Kinsella has now joined a group supporting the ‘Killed Women’ campaign started by three grieving mums – Carole Gould, Julie Devey-Waterhouse, and Elaine Newborough whose daughters were murdered by men who then got unusually short sentences.

Speaking to The Times, Kinsella said: “The aim of Ben’s Law was always to strengthen sentences for knife crime. But a crucial loophole has emerged. Most women murdered with knives are killed at home, and the current law fails to address this.

“In these cases, the perpetrator faces a much lower starting sentence of 15 years, compared to 25 years for someone who brings a knife specifically to commit murder. This inconsistency is unacceptable and the victims’ families are being denied the justice they deserve. We need to close this loophole and ensure the law truly reflects the severity of these crimes.”

Out of the 590 murders recorded in England and Wales in the year ending March 2023, 100 were domestic. Gould, whose daughter was killed by a man sentenced to only 12 years for murdering her with a kitchen knife at her family home, has asked the justice secretary, Alex Chalk, to increase the starting sentence for all knife murders to 25 years.

Her daughter, Ellie, was just 17 when she was stabbed 13 times by another student, also aged 17. His 15-year sentence was cut down even further to 12 and a half years, because of his young age.

People fighting against sexual violence say it’s “ludicrous” that such killers should get ten years less than other murderers. The Ministry of Justice is thinking about its response to a public consultation on the issue after receiving 5,200 responses.

The MoJ said: “We have already taken decisive action to ensure domestic killers are locked up for longer – introducing new statutory aggravating factors for overkill, killing at the end of a relationship, and controlling or coercive behaviour – and are currently analysing responses to our consultation on starting points for murders committed with a weapon already at the scene.”

“The 25-year starting point for murders where the weapon is brought the scene rightly reflects the frightening reality of the danger to the public when knives are carried on our streets.”

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