What about the men?

This is an update of a piece I wrote at the beginning of April about the men who killed women in the UK in 2012 and the methods they chose to do so.

Femicide is the killing of women by men because they are women, some include the killing of women by women where patriarchal views can be seen, in other words femicide is the killing of women  motivated, directly or indirectly, by misogyny and sexism.

I wrote  ‘Counting Dead Women’ on 25th March 2013 about  112 UK women killed in the UK through male violence in 2012, but through researching trial outcomes, that number was revised and had to be increased to 114. Repeating the exercise for this piece  eight  months later, again, the figure needs to be revised.  It now stands at 120.  120 women in the UK were killed through male violence in 2012, that’s one woman in the UK killed through male violence every 3.04 days.

The 120 women were killed by 118 men, four men were multiple killers. One man killed three women, three men killed two. Two women was killed by two men  and another by two men and a woman.

So far, 63 men have been found guilty of murdering 65 women.

Ten men, who killed 12 women between them have killed themselves. Five men shot themselves after shooting seven women, one man drowned himself after drowning his partner, one man hanged himself after strangling his partner and of three men who stabbed women they were or had been married to, one killed himself through poisoning, one by slitting his own throat and one in what is described as a serious self-harm incident whilst in prison.

17 men have been found not guilty or murder but guilty of manslaughter (two of which were culpable homicide sentences in Scotland). Even the name manslaughter renders women invisible.  Of the 17 men found not guilty of murder, nine pleaded diminished responsibility on the grounds of mental  health problems;  three pleaded loss of control and three that they did not intend to kill. (I’ve been unable to find details of the mitigating factors put forward by the remaining two men.)  Of the 17 men found not guilty of murder:  Four men  had killed women by stabbing them, one man by axing and stabbing, five men  had beaten women to death with an object, three men had strangled them, two men had kicked women to death, one man had smothered a women and one man killed a women through multiple injuries.  One of the men was found not guilty of murder but convicted of manslaughter with a sentence of only seven and a half years, despite killing a woman by stabbing/slashing her  11 times in what was described as a frenzied attack and a history of 25 court appearances for 44 offences, which include offences relating to domestic violence.

16 men killed their mothers, or have been accused of their killing. One man has been found guilty of killing his grandmother.  Five of the men who killed their mothers were found guilty of manslaughter/culpable homicide. Two men who killed their mothers also killed themselves.

14 cases have not yet been to trial and one man has been judged unfit to stand trial.

Five older women, aged between 75 and 88 years were killed by younger men, aged  between 15 and 43 years as they were robbed/mugged.  Two of the women died of head injuries, two were strangled and one was beaten to death with a hammer.

The average age of men in the UK who killed women in 2012 is 38. The average age of the women killed is 44. If the men who killed their mothers (or grandmother) and those who preyed on elderly women because of their vulnerability are removed, the average age of male killers becomes 40 and that of women killed becomes 39.

It’s often the case that details of how men have chosen to kill women are not reported until the case has gone to trial, so the following list is still incomplete. However, from what has been reported to date, the primary means selected by men to cause death to women have been:

  • Shot:                                                          7 women
  • Stabbed:                                                    34 women
  • Stabbed and beaten:                              4 women
  • Blunt force trauma:                               7 women
  • Strangled:                                                 12 women
  • Asphyxiation :                                          4 women
  • Strangled & asphyxiation:                     3 women
  • Strangled, beaten and stabbed:           4 women
  • Drowning:                                                 1 woman
  • Hammer injuries:                                    4 women
  • Stabbed/axed/slashed:                          4 women
  • Multiple injuries from kicking and beating:

                           8 women

  • Burned:                                                     1 woman
  • Fire:                                                            2 women
  • Head Injuries:                                          14 women
  • Deliberate Car Crash:                             1 woman
  • Body still not found:                               1 woman

When we look at women killed by men, it is important that we name men’s violence.

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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.