Cwmbran blaze murderer could spend life behind bars
9:13am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A TRIPLE murderer serving a 30-year jail term could spend the rest of his life behind bars if his sentence is extended at the Court of Appeal today.
Three High Court judges will decide whether the sentencing of Carl Mills, 28, convicted in July of murdering three members of a Cwmbran family by setting fire to their home, was “unduly lenient”.
Mills was found guilty of killing his partner Kayleigh Buckley, 17, their six-month-old daughter Kimberley, and Kayleigh’s mum Kim, 46, by torching their Tillsland home in Coed Eva, on September 18 last year.
Kayleigh, a former Fairwater High School student, had been in a relationship with Mills who she met on Facebook and nine months later gave birth to twins Angel, who was stillborn, and Kimberley, who despite health problems was able to go home.
Sentencing Mills in July, judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams told him he had condemned his victims to “a terrifying and agonising death”, and imposed a minimum term of 30 years in jail.
Now the Lord Chief Justice, along with two other High Court judges, will examine whether Mills deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars on a whole life tariff. The justices have four options available to them, now that the matter has been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC MP, through the Attorney General’s office.
They could refuse to hear the case, or they could agree with the Attorney General that the sentencing was unduly lenient, but not increase the sentence. In that instance they may issue guidance for future cases.
Alternatively they could increase Mills’ original sentence, which includes the option of imposing a whole life tariff, or reserve judgement until a later date.
Whole life tariffs hit the headlines earlier this year when the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of murderer Jeremy Bamber and two others that it breached their human rights, violating Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects people from inhuman or degrading treatment.
The judges said there “had to be the possibility” of a release, in order to comply with the convention.
Only 49 people in England and Wales are serving whole-life tariffs.
David Elias, head of the criminal team at 9 Park Place barristers chambers in Cardiff, said to impose a “life meaning life” tariff on someone of Mills’ age would be “very unusual” in law.
“An Attorney General’s reference for a 30-year tariff would happen very rarely,” said Mr Elias. “The judges will have to decide, looking at all guidelines that led to the 30-year tariff, as to what the trial judge did and come to a conclusion that either it was or was not unduly lenient.”
Mills’ case is scheduled to be heard at 10.30am this morning at the Court of Appeal in London.