Killer fails to have sentence cut

PUBLISHED: 12:38 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010

Shaun Leslie Hilton

Shaun Leslie Hilton

A SOHAM man who strangled his girlfriend and dumped her body at a disused airfield has failed to win a bid to cut the minimum jail term he must serve. Shaun Leslie Hilton, 39, pictured, of Brook Street, Soham, was jailed for life at Cambridge Crown Court

A SOHAM man who strangled his girlfriend and dumped her body at a disused airfield has failed to win a bid to cut the minimum jail term he must serve.

Shaun Leslie Hilton, 39, pictured, of Brook Street, Soham, was jailed for life at Cambridge Crown Court in February, after being found guilty of murdering Kim Fuller, a 34-year old building society worker with two children, in March last year.

He had admitted killing her, but the jury rejected his contention it was manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

The judge ordered the former Papworth Hospital worker to serve at least 15 years.

London's Criminal Appeal Court refused to cut the minimum term, rejecting submissions that it was too long.

Mr Justice Crane dismissed claims made by Hilton's QC, Karim Khalil, who - while accepting the concealment of the body was an aggravating feature - contended the sentencing judge gave too much weight to it.

The QC said the body was fully clothed, uncovered, in an obvious place and had not been hidden under nearby trees.

But Mr Justice Crane, sitting with Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mrs Justice Dobbs, noted Hilton also had sent misleading text messages from Miss Fuller's phone to a male friend after she went missing.

"We accept, like the judge, the concealment could have been more skilful and more could have been done," he said.

Nevertheless, the combination of that with the misleading mobile phone messages made it clear Hilton's intention was to conceal the body, he concluded.

Mr Khalil also referred to Hilton's mental health problems, while accepting the jury had rejected the opinion of three psychiatrists who said a defence of diminished responsibility was available to Hilton.

"The learned judge, of course, heard the evidence of the psychiatrists," Mr Justice Crane said.

"Some criticism has been made today by Mr Khalil of the judge's description of the appellant as having lied in the context of his medical history."

While he was prepared to accept there were essentially two lies, Mr Justice Crane said the sentencing judge was in a much better position than the Appeal Court to assess the degree of culpability of Hilton in relation to his medical condition.

"In our view, his judgement in that respect is not open to reasonable criticism," he

concluded.

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