We covered the case of Carl Langdall, the lawyer (see our previous post for a discussion of who is a lawyer and whether he is) who pleaded guilty to the murder of Katie Locke.
On 3rd June 2016, Mr Langdall was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum period to be served of 26 years.
On Christmas Eve 2015 Mr Langdall went on a prearranged date with Ms Locke. They had met through Plenty of Fish – a dating website.
That night, they ended up at the Theobalds Park Hotel where Mr Langdall strangled her. The reasons for this are unclear. It is known that Mr Langdall has a history of mental illness, and had previously described violent fantasies to a psychiatric nurse.
After killing her, Mr Langdall “decided to have sexual intercourse with her dead body after which he took photographs of her body on his iPhone“. He left the hotel after dumping her body in a bush nearby.
As he had pleaded guilty to murder, the only sentence available was life imprisonment. The question for the Judge was the tariff – the length of time that Mr Langdall will have to serve before he could be considered for release.
The Judge must have taken a 30 year starting point, presumably on the basis that there was ‘sexual or sadistic conduct’. We will have to see the sentencing remarks, but although it is clearly correct that have intercourse with her corpse ““increased the depravity of the murder“, it is not clear whether this is enough to put the case into that higher starting point.
With full credit, this equates to a starting point of over 31 years. Although the murder was a horrific one, it is not clear that when accounting for the mitigating factors of his age, good character, and mental illness, that such a high starting point is justified.
But, this was an experienced Judge who knows what he’s doing. Hopefully the Sentencing Remarks will be published so we can see in more detail how the sentence was calculated.