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Bushey man has sentence cut after appeal

 Published on: 10th October 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

St Albans Crown Court (web)A man from Bushey who strangled his 11-year-old daughter before trying to kill himself in a car crash has had his jail term cut on appeal. Simon Jonathan Thompson killed his daughter Rebecca in her sleep after taking her on a day trip to London Zoo. He then ploughed his car into a roundabout at speed and left his estranged wife to find their daughter’s lifeless body. The 53-year-old, of Homefield Road, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. His guilty plea was accepted by prosecutors and he was locked up for 20 years at St Albans Crown Court in January. However, his sentence was slashed on October 9 to 17 years by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court. They said the original term didn’t take enough account of medical evidence relating to his mental state at the time of the killing. On Friday, June 21 last year, Thompson phoned Rebecca’s school and lied that she was ill, before taking her to London Zoo for the day. He returned home with her about 6pm and, some time between then and 11.30pm, he used the cord from her dressing gown to strangle her while she slept. Thompson then locked the house before driving his car into a roundabout at about 90mph in a bid to end his own life. Psychiatrists who examined Thompson concluded he had Asperger’s Syndrome, coupled with an ‘abnormal personality’ with schizoid and obsessive-compulsive features, and also had difficulty expressing emotion. They said that, in his distorted state of mind, he believed he had no other option than to kill Rebecca in order to free her from the distress she was in, and that he was suffering depression at the prospect of losing his most important relationship. Doctors concluded his responsibility was diminished by his mental state when he killed his daughter. Allowing the appeal, Judge Pert said the psychiatric evidence was that, while Thompson was making decisions, they were not rational ones as he had lost the ability to think logically. Sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Turner, he added: “We are very aware of the difficulties facing the judge and we do not interfere lightly with the decision he made. “But, in our view, a sentence of 20 years does not give appropriate weight to the circumstances in this case.”

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