We don’t have the sentencing remarks (although given the high profile nature of the case, it might be that they are released) but we have a fair few details from the press reports.
Mr Esack had separated from Natalie Esack, seemingly due to his jealous and controlling nature. In April of this year, after subjecting to her to various forms of harassment, he went to the salon where she worked armed with a knife. There, he stabbed her 11 times. After this he said to her colleague “she deserved it, the bitch”.
This issue at the trial was whether he was suffering from diminished responsibility due to his mental state at the time. The jury rejected this. As there was a trial, Mr Esack would have had no credit for a plea of guilty.
So, why 28 years? It would seem that the key to this is that Mr Esack took the knife to the scene of the crime in order to kill Ms Esack. This now results in a starting point of 25 years (there is nothing to suggest that the starting point wouldn’t have been 15 years otherwise).
There were additional aggravating features : an intention to kill, a calculated and premeditated killing and, presumably, the history of stalking. It is not clear what, if any, mitigation is provided by Mr Esack’s mental state at the time, but it would seem none.
This seems to have lead to the increase in tariff from 25 to 28 years. Was the Judge right? There were clearly aggravating features that would justify an increase of that nature and so the sentence would seem to be in line with what would be expected. It is likely that there will be an appeal (not least because Mr Esack has very little to lose by appealing), so watch this space.
Had Mr Esack not taken the knife with him, but had instead used one of the tools in the salon (which would inevitably be there), the starting point would have been 15 years. Whilst the aggravating features listed above would have increased the tariff, it would not realistically increased the sentence above 20 years.
Is it right that that one point – the fact he armed himself with a knife first – should lead to such a great increase in sentence?