Detective backs increase in killers' jail terms

THE detective responsible for bringing two men to justice for murdering a charity worker last night said he was “content and satisfied” after their prison sentences were extended.

Craig Robinson

THE detective responsible for bringing two men to justice for murdering a charity worker last night said he was “content and satisfied” after their prison sentences were extended.

Judges in the Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that Robert McCarry's current 19-year tariff and the 13 years imposed on Paul Waters were “unduly lenient” - and added five years in both cases.

The pair, both from Ipswich, were jailed in April for the murder of Nicola West, of Leatherbottle Hill, Little Blakenham.

The 34-year-old, who grew up in Colchester, was also raped by McCarry and her body was concealed in the boot of Waters' car for two days.

Judge John Devaux, sitting at Ipswich Crown Court, originally ruled that McCarry, now 37, should stay in jail for at least 19 years before he could apply for parole and Waters, 29, for a minimum of 13 years.

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But yesterday it was argued on behalf of the Attorney General that the terms did not reflect the overall seriousness of what was a sexually motivated murder - and therefore one which should have attracted a sentencing “starting point” of 30 years.

Lady Justice Hallett increased McCarry's sentence to 24 years and Waters' to 18 years saying the trial judge had been “wrong in his categorisation of this offence”.

The case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following the original sentence because of the brutal nature of the offence.

Last night detective superintendent David Cole - the senior investigating officer with Suffolk Constabulary - said he was pleased with the end result.

“I am satisfied and content that the judicial system has recognised the seriousness and magnitude of this case,” he said.

He also said he was grateful to the CPS for deciding to take the matter further.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk CPS said: “Due to the brutal nature of the cruel murder of Nicola West the CPS felt it appropriate to refer this case to the Attorney General for the consideration of the Court of Appeal to review the sentence previously passed.”

McCarry, of Vernon Street, and Waters, of Sandpiper Road, were convicted of murdering Miss West on February 8 last year near the dry ski slope at Wherstead.

McCarry was convicted of raping Miss West and Waters was convicted of attempting to rape her.

Both men were also found guilty of perverting the course of justice after they put Miss West's body in the boot of Waters' Ford Escort car and drove around the country for two days before telling police.

McCarry was also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The jury originally heard that Miss West met the unemployed men after drinking with them in pubs in Ipswich.

Waters then drove them to the dry ski slope in Wherstead Road where McCarry raped his victim in the back of the car while his co-defendant attempted to rape her.

She was then strangled by McCarry before her body was driven around in the boot of Waters' car for two days before the men handed themselves into the police.

McCarry had claimed Miss West died after asking him to strangle her during sex to heighten her pleasure.

Handing down the extended tariffs Lady Justice Hallett added: “This was a death of a victim accompanied by sexual activity, namely rape and attempted rape, that increased her ordeal. If ever sexual conduct was involved in a murder, in our view it is here.”

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