On 4th March 2014 Liam King (26) got into an argument with Rebecca Ayres (24), his partner. The argument was about christening arrangements for Ms Ayres three year old daughter. Mr King was concerned that Ms Ayres was in too much contact with her former partner in the lead up to the ceremony.
The full details aren’t clear, but Ms Ayres threatened to end the relationship unless Mr King did not come to the christening. This escalated the argument and Mr King got a knife and stabbed Ms Ayres 11 times, killing her.
On 26th August 2014, Mr King was sentenced for the murder. The only sentence available was life imprisonment, with the Judge setting the tariff, the minimum period that has to be served, as 15 years (see here for our factsheet on sentencing for murder).
The starting point for a murder of this sort is 15 years. Here, it seems that there was a prompt guilty plea – in interview Mr King “admitted he had an argument with Miss Ayres and then stabbed her in her chest and arms as she tried to defend herself“.
This would indicate that the Judge had taken a starting point of 18 years (there are different rules relating to credit for a plea of guilty to murder).
As to why the Judge increased the sentence? Probably because of a history of violent and controlling behaviour on the part of Mr King, which is generally seen now as an aggravating feature, even if it has not lead to a conviction.
On a separate note, it would not surprise me if, on the back of cases like this, there are calls at some point for an increase in the starting point for murders committed in a domestic context.