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Tracie Andrews released from jail after serving 14 years for killing Lee Harvey

(153 Posts)
rainbowtoenails Mon 01-Aug-11 15:46:58

I cant do a link to the news reports on this from my phone but I'm sure someone else can do that.

I saw Lee's parents on This Morning today. It is very sad that they have suffered the awful loss of their son and I can see why they feel let down by a justice system where life does not mean life.

But, looking at this case with a feminist gaze I cant help but make comparisons with other intimate partner killings. Mostly committed by men, these other cases Ive heard of rarely end up with a sentence of as long as 14 years. It reminds me of what I read ages ago in Helena Kennedy's 'Eve was Framed' that the justice system is harder on women than men for the same crimes. Im not saying that TA should have been let out sooner but that people of both genders who commit these crimes should be given equally long sentences.

AmberLeaf Mon 01-Aug-11 15:49:41

Yes its that old chestnut of a woman doing the same crime is worse than if a man does it.

I feel for Lee's parents as much as any murder victims family but why is this more important than any other case?

That sounds meaner than I mean! but you know what I mean?

franke Mon 01-Aug-11 15:52:49

Exactly amberleaf. Imagine how our newspapers would look if they made such a fuss every time a man who had murdered his partner was released from jail. There'd be no room for any other news.

Suncottage Mon 01-Aug-11 15:57:12

What is the statistic? Is it two or three woman A DAY killed by their partners/husbands.

Tracie Andrews lied about the 'road rage' attacker when the sad fact is, had she told the truth she would have been out in probably eight years and it would have been put down as a 'crime of passion'.

mycatsaysach Mon 01-Aug-11 15:59:09

i remember this case at the time of trial and always felt she had a very hard time of it.
something still doesn't sit right with me about it all.

TeamDamon Mon 01-Aug-11 16:03:10

Isn't Tracie Andrews the woman who murdered her fiance and then tried to pretend he had been killed in a road rage attack? I would imagine this had some bearing on her sentencing, particularly as she continued to assert this during her trial. Judges usually reflect in their sentencing whether the defendant pleads guilty/shows remorse for their crime - as she did neither, I am not surprised at the length of the sentence. I am actually surprised she has not served more time.

It would be helpful to the discussion if you could provide some examples of cases where men have received shorter sentences for the same crime (i.e. murdering a partner and then deliberately misleading police to present themselves and their partner as the victim of another assailant).

AmberLeaf Mon 01-Aug-11 16:07:03

TeamDamon, well thats the point, cases where the murderer is a man dont get the same press coverage either so not as easy to refer to.

KRIKRI Mon 01-Aug-11 17:28:31

Although this article is from 2005, I don't think it represented a particularly unusual year for men killing their partners or ex partners.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/dec/10/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation

KRIKRI Mon 01-Aug-11 17:28:49

Although this article is from 2005, I don't think it represented a particularly unusual year for men killing their partners or ex partners.

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/dec/10/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation

smallwhitecat Mon 01-Aug-11 17:31:17

Message withdrawn

Catslikehats Mon 01-Aug-11 17:36:25

I suspect a man who committed a pre meditated killing of his partner, made up a cock and bull story, wasted hours and hours of police time hunting for a non existent killer and showed no remorse would in fact receive a similar sentence.

rainbowtoenails Mon 01-Aug-11 17:53:52

I dont think anyone's suggesting it was premeditated are they? That would/should carry a longer sentence. I think the wasting police time/perverting the course of justice should have been prosecuted as a seperate crime.

smallwhitecat Mon 01-Aug-11 18:00:21

Message withdrawn

rainbowtoenails Mon 01-Aug-11 18:04:27

dunmowbroadcast.co.uk/news/increased_sentence_for_man_who_killed_wife_for_nagging_1_926368

Heres a eg of a man who got 5 then increased to 7 years for killing his wife.

Catslikehats Mon 01-Aug-11 18:05:42

rainbowtoes Well she had the knife with her in the car......

Also I believe they established that the first stab wound was in his back.

Catslikehats Mon 01-Aug-11 18:10:23

(not of course that makes a difference to whether it was premeditated)

Dexifehatz Mon 01-Aug-11 18:22:09

Well not many men would get a freebie face job to ensure that no one could recognise her and spit in her face.

TeamDamon Mon 01-Aug-11 18:29:27

I think this is a very poor case to use to try to argue your point, TBH.

The way in which she fabricated the road rage story to cover up her guilt, her refusal to plead guilty, and her complete lack of remorse ever since make her a wholly unsympathetic character. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it enrages me that she received such a comparatively short sentence. If I were to get upset about the imbalance in male/female sentencing for the murder of a partner, it would not be for this person.

holyShmoley Mon 01-Aug-11 19:40:54

it does seem to me that a man commiting this offence would get a tariff of approaching 30 years.

AmberLeaf Mon 01-Aug-11 21:36:11

Really holyShmoley?

ajaybaines Mon 01-Aug-11 21:54:50

I've absolutely no facts or figures to contribute on this, but do remember the case where Paul Dyson murdered his girlfriend Joanne Nelson on valentine's day then lied about it and misled police.

he got life

jennyvstheworld Mon 01-Aug-11 23:01:32

I think the telling phrase here is "with a feminist gaze." There's no evidence whatsoever that TA would have recieved a lighter sentence had the genders been reversed - and yet Rainbowtoenails sits there watching daytime telly and interprets it as being so...

MrsReasonable Mon 01-Aug-11 23:45:40

In the US, it has been found that women committing comparable crimes to men do receive less jail time. It's not out of the question that the same could be true of the UK, though I haven't seen anything reliable about that.

There are some people who want that leniency to go further, however.

KRIKRI Mon 01-Aug-11 23:52:22

I wish I could lay my hands on it, but I remember in 1996 that Channel 4 commissioned a study for a programme about the different way in which the plea of "manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility" was used by men who killed female partners and women who killed male partners.

Where women were convicted of manslaughter on such grounds, they nearly always had a documented history of mental illness, often serious mental illness. Where men were convicted of manslaughter on such grounds, they more frequently had no known history of mental illness prior to the killing. However, the courts accepted manslaughter (instead of murder) on the evidence of psychiatric testimony that they were suffering stress, depression, PTSD or similar.

In other words, it was easier for men to be prosecuted of manslaughter rather than murder for killing their partners on grounds of diminished responsibility, even though it was only after the killing that their illness was "diagnosed."

I'll keep looking, but I did find an example referred to in this piece by Prof. Sue Lees www.bunker8.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Sue/decrimdv.htm I remember the case well as I was working for Women's Aid at the time and an exasperated reporter for a local West London paper rang up for a quote on it. The couple's children were stunned by the verdict. The following paragraph comes about 1/4 way down the article.

"In some cases husbands do not have to stand trial, even when there is evidence of premeditation. Instead the defence plea bargain whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge, of manslaughter, and the case is settled without a trial. In August 1995, three days after Daniel Collins was cleared of raping his estranged wife at the Old Bailey, he beat her to death with a wrench in front of their children (Daily Telegraph, 9 February 1995). His plea of not guilty to murder was accepted by the CPS after two psychiatrists concluded his responsibility for the crime was diminished."

KRIKRI Mon 01-Aug-11 23:54:31

Oh, and although the article doesn't mention it, he got 7 years for manslaughter. On the way out of the court, he said audibly, "I told her she shouldn't have claimed I raped her." I think he served 4 years.

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