Angry mum condemns killing sentence

EXCLUSIVEBy Richard SmithAN angry mother has criticised the “lenient” sentence imposed on a policeman who shot dead her son at close-range.Norma Spencer, 67, said she was disappointed that Michael Cheong, a constable with Suffolk police, had been jailed for only two years for shooting dead her son, Brian.

EXCLUSIVE

By Richard Smith

AN angry mother has criticised the “lenient” sentence imposed on a policeman who shot dead her son at close-range.

Norma Spencer, 67, said she was disappointed that Michael Cheong, a constable with Suffolk police, had been jailed for only two years for shooting dead her son, Brian.

Mrs Spencer, who lives in Guyana, said she would have been satisfied with a sentence of seven years or more for the cold-blooded shooting of her son in the south American country in 1982.

“I am not pleased at all. Two years is a very, very low sentence - two years for killing a person, that is not very much,” she said.

Most Read

“I am not satisfied, but I will have to accept it - what can I do? If he had been tried in Guyana, perhaps they would have locked him up for a good while. It is a very, very sad time.”

Cheong, 43, of Peterhouse Crescent, Woodbridge, was jailed at the Old Bailey, London, on Monday.

He had denied and was cleared of murdering Mr Spencer, a 23-year-old carpenter, but was been found guilty of manslaughter by a jury last month. Cheong was a farm labourer at the time of the killing and he shot Mr Spencer after the carpenter had robbed and assaulted his wife, Sandra, and her sister, Jackie.

The jury was told Mr Spencer had been sentenced to two years in jail in January, 1982, but it was not told for what offence.

Mrs Spencer said she was disappointed with the portrayal of her son as a criminal and insisted: “He was not a thief, he never had no convictions.”

She also pleaded for help in obtaining compensation for her son's death as the Criminal Injuries Compensational Authority only makes awards for crimes committed in the UK.

“I do not know if there is anybody who would take this further. I cannot do any more and I would be grateful if somebody could tell me what to do now,” she said.

Karim Khalil, representing Cheong, had asked Judge Paul Focke to consider two alternatives to prison.

He said Cheong had been barely an adult when he had been “confronted by a crisis that would be beyond the imagination of a 20-year-old”.

Mr Khalil added Cheong could be punished by a community punishment or he could be given a suspended prison sentence that would only come into effect if he committed another crime.

But the judge said it would be “impossible” to suspend the sentence, but he would give a jail sentence at the lower end of the tariff for manslaughter. Cheong will spend one year in jail and one year on licence.

The judge said: “I recognise that nothing I can say will bring any comfort to Mr Spencer's family in their tragic loss.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter