Introduction and facts
Earlier this year we covered the case of James Fairweather, the Essex teenager who killed two people whilst aged only 15 in 2014.
These were brutal and senseless murders. One man, James Attfield, was stabbed 102 times on 28th-29th March. Six weeks later he stabbed Nahid Almanea.
Accepting that he had killed them both, there was a trial on whether it was murder or manslaughter, with the jury disbelieving him and finding him guilty of the more serious offence.
The tariff was set at 27 years. We said that the Judge was in ‘uncharted territory’, but given that he was only 15 we would not be surprised if “if an appeal succeeded to a small extent“.
As expected, there was an appeal. As to whether it succeeded, we got it wrong – the appeal was dismissed.
We don’t have the full ruling (and will probably look at it in more detail when we do) in relation to the appeal against sentence, but Treacy LJ was recorded as saying that “We are not persuaded it was manifestly excessive in an extremely serious case in which an experienced trial judge took much care over the process of sentencing“.
This is not a great surprise, as we said, this was an absolutely terrifying crime and Mr Fairweather is clearly an extremely dangerous individual.
In any event, as we noted, the tariff is just the minimum period of time – there is no guarantee that he will be released at that point. In the circumstances of this case, it would not be a surprise if Mr Fairweather is in prison for a very long time, if he is in fact ever released.