Last November, Samira Lupidi, a 24 year old mother of two, stabbed her two children (aged 3 years and 17 months) nine times each, killing them both. She admitted killing them but said that it was manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The jury rejected that in an hour and a half, convicting her of the murder of both of them. On 17th May 2016, she was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 24 years.
As is often the way, the real reason for the killing is hard to fathom. Last November, Ms Lupidi attended a refuge, although it seems that there is an element of doubt as to whether she had actually been a victim of domestic violence from Carl Weaver (the father of her children).
There had been a ‘weekend of violent arguments‘, after which Ms Lupidi “had formed a delusional belief that [she was] in danger of being killed and that [she was] going to be abandoned and that [she] would not see the children again“.
The Judge determined that it was a ‘crime of rage’ committed in anger, but in a desire for revenge. Just after killing her daughters, she said “It’s his fault. Now he has a reason to kill me. If I can’t have them, he can’t have them either.”
“a week later you were telling the prison medical staff that the most important thing was that Carl Weaver was suffering.”
The Judge did also noted in his remarks that Ms Lupidi ‘killed the things you loved in a temporary rage, which will have everlasting and disastrous consequences for you‘.
This is a horrible case, and a tragedy for all involved, as is so often the way in the case of ‘family annihilation’. This is true with all murders of course, but there is in some ways something particularly horrific living in the knowledge that you have killed your own children
The mandatory sentence is one of life imprisonment. Within that there is the very difficult task of setting the ‘tariff’ – the period of time which Ms Lupidi will have to serve before the Parole Board can consider whether it would be safe to release her.
The starting point is 30 years, as there was the murder of two people. Those people being her children, they were clearly vulnerable, and there is an abuse of trust there.
On the other hand, there appears to have been an element of mental disorder, even if the jury did not accept that her responsibility was legally diminished.
Ms Lupidi received the same tariff as Kathryn Smith, who was recently sentenced for murdering her daughter. This is understandable as although Ms Lupidi killed two people, it was much more a ‘heat of the moment’ killing, rather than the long period of abuse that Ms Smith inflicted.
This would seem to explain why the starting point of 30 years was reduced to 24 years. Although the sentence is an extremely long one, and it may be that Ms Lupidi will try to appeal, we doubt she will succeed.