Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment with minimum term of 28 years for murdering girlfriend.
He was found guilty after a trial at the Old Bailey which concluded in September.
The day before her murder, Williams’ girlfriend, Kirsty Treloar received a text message from Williams. It said: “Okay wer all gud now and my new yrs ressy is that i aint going to hit u again and i won’t hit u 4 this yr next yr the yr after that the next yr after that.” The BBC reported that he went on to say that he wanted her to swear on their daughter’s life she wouldn’t do anything to make him angry before ending the message with “love you 4 eva”.
Seven hours after sending the text, Williams received a reply from Kirsty saying that she did not want to see him. Williams then broke into her family home in Hackney, East London, armed with a knife. He attacked Kirsty and when her brother, 23 and sister, 24, tried to help, they were also attacked by Williams. Her brother was stabbed in the chest and her sister suffered a cut on her arm.
Kirsty was dragged into Williams’ car. She was stabbed 29 times in front of their 26-day old child. Reports suggested that the child was ‘covered’ in blood after the attack. Kirsty’s body was found behind wheelie bins near Williams’ abandoned car around two miles away from her family home. Williams claimed that he had no recollection of the attack.
It appears there are no sentencing remarks available. We are then left to speculate on how the Judge arrived at the sentence.
Life imprisonment is a mandatory sentence for anyone convicted of murder (there are juvenile equivalents). However, Williams is aged 19, and so, when the news reports state he has been sentenced to life imprisonment, they actually mean custody for life.
If a person under the age of 18 is convicted of murder, the starting point is 12 years. This is irrespective of the circumstances of the offence. The starting point for someone over 18 convicted of murder with a knife is 25 years. There is guidance on how to reconcile the differences between those two starting points in cases where the defendant has only recently turned 18 years old.
The Judge appears to have started at the 25-year starting point. It may be that the Judge made some reduction to take account of Williams’ age (19 is considered to be young and often attracts a reduction in sentence). It would then appear that the sentence was increased to reflect the aggravating factors. The Judge may have considered that the following were present: the brutal nature of the attack, that Kirsty may have suffered before her death, the concealment of the body, potential abuse of a position of trust and the premeditation.
There could be no reduction for a guilty plea. News reports have remained silent on his character, but in any event, no previous or no significant previous would make little to no difference to this sentence.
Is a 28-year minimum term the correct sentence? On the limited facts it would seem that it is certainly within the expected range. It may be argued that fewer aggravating factors were present, and so when taken with Williams’ age, a sentence above the starting point of 25 years was excessive.
Without a clear factual background, it is difficult to assess. An appeal may be mounted, but expect only a modest reduction, if anything at all.