Mother killer’s minimum term cut


Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A woman who killed her sick mother in what she believed was an “act of mercy” has won a sentence cut.

Angela Douglas, 49, from Plymouth, who held a pillow over the face of 73-year-old Ann Matthews as she lay in bed, was sentenced in April to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 12 years – the least time she must serve behind bars before becoming eligible to apply for parole.

But today, judges at the Court of Appeal allowed her challenge against the sentence, ruling that the term of 12 years was too long – and reduced it to seven.

Lord Justice McCombe, sitting in London with two other judges, said the court had come to the “clear conclusion” that the minimum term originally imposed by a judge at Plymouth Crown Court was “excessive”.

He said: “We have reached the conclusion that the minimum term should have been one of seven years.”

Mother-of-two Douglas, who was “intoxicated” at the time of the killing, denied murder, but was convicted by a jury.

It was argued on her behalf at the appeal court that the sentencing judge failed to give sufficient weight to a large number of mitigating factors, particularly her genuine belief that it was an act of mercy.

Her QC Paul Dunkels said that she “genuinely believed that her act was an act of mercy, albeit it was a belief that she came to whilst intoxicated”.

She loved her mother, helped care for her, and was “distressed” by the deterioration in her health.

Mrs Matthews was suffering from emphysema and long-standing heart disease. Her weight had dropped to five stone and she was unable to leave her home in Plymouth.

Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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