Beds, Herts & Bucks

Sheila Sampford loses appeal against murder sentence

Sheila Sampford Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Sheila Sampford's barrister argued the sentencing judge should have shown leniency due to her age

A woman convicted of murdering her terminally ill husband has lost an appeal against the length of her jail term.

Sheila Sampford, 76, of Milton Keynes, was jailed for life - with a minimum term of nine years - for killing John Sampford, 83, last July.

She had pleaded guilty to murder but said she acted out of "mercy" because he had just six months to live.

Three judges at London's Appeal Court ruled the sentence was not excessive.

Mr Sampford was found dead at the couple's home in Spoonley Wood, Bancroft Park, on 5 July 2013.

'Immense pressure'

At Luton Crown Court in February, Judge Richard Foster heard police found Mr Sampford upstairs, on a bed with two pillows over his head and a bandage tied around his neck.

Sampford said her husband had leukaemia and she acted out of "love and devotion" to end his suffering.

She said he had asked her to end his life but Judge Foster said she snapped under immense pressure.

He said it was clear her husband had taken the terminal diagnosis well and had given no indication that he wanted to end his life.

John Price QC, representing Sampford at the Appeal Court, argued Judge Foster should have given more weight to her age and shown greater leniency in sentencing, to prevent her dying behind bars.

But Mr Justice Davis, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Judge Deborah Taylor, said the "very difficult sentencing exercise" had been "conducted with sensitivity and skill".

"We cannot find any error in principle or that the minimum term imposed was manifestly excessive and therefore this application is refused," he said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites