Letter to the Attorney General regarding the unduly lenient sentencing of Paul Keene for the killing of Carmen Gabriela Miron-Buchacra

Dear Dominic Grieve, Attorney General

I am writing to complain about the sentencing of Paul Keene at Bristol Crown Court on 22nd March 2013, which I believe to be unduly lenient.

I understand that Mr Keene was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter,  with a reduced sentence reflecting admission of manslaughter and mitigating factors including loss of control and an alleged history of emotional abuse, for the killing of Carmen Gabriela Miron-Buchacra.

Firstly, I  would like to ask you to consider whether it was right that Mr Keene was found not guilty of murder.  Evidence in the form of an eight-minute voice-mail recording was heard by the court.  During the course of the recording, it has been accepted that Mr Keene killed Ms Miron-Buchacra, having been permitted entry into her flat after threatening to kick the door in. Mr Keene  can be heard threatening to kill Ms Miron-Buchacra, amidst sounds of choking, banging and screaming as he repeatedly punched her in the face and strangled her,  first with a dressing gown cord – and when that failed – an electrical cable.  I find it difficult to understand how this could be interpreted as anything other than a knowing intent to kill.

Accepting manslaughter as the offence, which for the reasons stated above, I do not; I question whether emotional abuse as a mitigating factor is appropriate.  Ms Miron-Buchacra was unable to present evidence to counter this because she was dead.  Similarly,  she was unable to present evidence that she had experienced emotional or any other form of abuse prior to her killing.  The court had, however, heard from Ms Miron-Buchacra’s aunt, who told the jury that her niece had confided to her that Mr Keene had been physically violent.

I wonder also whether aggravating factors were fully considered.  These include cruelty, threat to kill, use of a weapon (for surely exchanging a dressing gown cord for an electric cable makes that cable a weapon), the degree of harm caused and Mr Keene’s post-offence behaviour which  included sending texts from Ms Miron-Buchachra’s phone, pretending to be her.

For the reasons above, I urge you to refer this case to the Court of Appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Ingala Smith


Received a disappointing response on 22nd April:

Dear Ms Ingala-Smith

Thank you for your email asking the Attorney General to review the sentence imposed on Paul Keene.

 The Law Officers (the Attorney General and Solicitor General) can apply to the Court of Appeal for certain sentences to be increased on the grounds that they are “unduly lenient”.  The Solicitor General has considered carefully whether the sentence was unduly lenient in this very sad case and has decided not to refer it to the Court of Appeal as he does not consider the Court would increase it.

 It is important to note that the jury acquitted Paul Keene of murder and convicted him of manslaughter, by reason of loss of control. The judge could not disregard the jury’s verdict and he could only sentence Mr Keene for the offence of manslaughter by reason of loss of control, not for murder. The Law Officers are only able to consider the sentence, as was the judge, based on the verdict of manslaughter which the jury returned.

 The sentence of 7 years and 4 months is in accordance with the relevant sentencing guidelines and, in the Solicitor General’s view, was within the range of sentences it was open to the judge to impose for the offence of manslaughter.

12 thoughts on “Letter to the Attorney General regarding the unduly lenient sentencing of Paul Keene for the killing of Carmen Gabriela Miron-Buchacra

  1. I know Paul personally, today I have seen this guy roaming the streets of Plymouth amongst our families!! with the evidence provided I really do struggle to see how he received such a short sentence, it’s clearly murder! Paul was once a friend of mine but I must say that if she was my daughter prison would be the only safe place on the planet for him.. Our justice system…bad times

  2. Aghast, but as usual not surprised at this lenient sentencing. Indeed, literally getting away with murder. I actually cannot comment any further as I am so disgusted.

  3. Being a Mexican, the only thing I can think about is: Even in the First World, Justice is a mockery. Had Carmen Gabriela been a white British citizen, would the man would have received the same punishment? It is a shame on the British Justice system.

  4. I want to thank you for writing this letter. I am gaby’s sister and it is fair to say that I speak for everyone in my family and my sister’s friends that the justice system in England has failed not only us but women overall. I have been reading and studying and it is unbelievable the amount o cases where the sentence for a crime like this is a joke. I am grateful to find women like you who are fighting against domestic violence and it has become one of my priorities ever since this tragedy.
    I am very skeptical about the system but will continue fighting to ensure my sister’s honour is defended. At the end of the day this is all I can do because I know that the one who will have to live with remorse forever is this person.
    Again, thank you for taking interest in this case. Little or much it does, it shows that it is not being ignored.

    • Thank you for writing.
      I have to agree, most of the time it is with shame and anger that I look at the justice system.
      I am so sorry for your loss and I know that nothing will bring your sister back but at the very least Paul Keene deserves a sentence reflecting the violence of his actions.

  5. I totally agree with your article, especially the part where Gaby could not respond to the allegations of mental abuse. Unfortunately, I believe that this will not go any further up the justice chain.

    • Sadly, you’re probably right. I did get a reply saying they had requested the files. Sometimes though, it’s worth trying, even if you don’t expect to get anywhere. Wish i had the time to write and object more often.

      • Thanks Karen!!! I could not agree more with your article!!!! I.m Gaby is aunt, he was physically violent and manipulative as my niece confided to me and as I said in my statement, which obviously was not fully considered.

      • Thank you for commenting. I am very touched to hear from you.
        I didn’t know Gaby, as you will know, but when I read about Paul Keene’s sentence after what he had done to her, I was disgusted and felt that I had to try to do something.
        I did get a reply, they said they’re reviewing the files.
        Finally, I am so sorry for your loss.

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