Published: 18:32, 07 September 2019
| Updated: 19:43, 07 September 2019
The sentence of a killer mum who drowned her toddler twins will not be referred to the Court of Appeal.
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The "controlling mother" drowned the twins in the bath to get back at her ex-husband after becoming obsessed with losing her "perfect life" in Qatar.
The 38-year-old denied murder but admitted a charge of manslaughter by diminished responsibility at the Old Bailey.
The Attorney General's office had been reviewing her sentence after receiving complaints it was too lenient, including one from the twins' grieving father Steven Ford who branded it "disgusting".
But in a letter sent to Mr Ford, seen by KentOnline, said Michael Ellis QC said he had decided not to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.
"A sentence can only be unduly lenient if there has been a "gross error" and it is significantly below the level that any judge could have reasonably imposed after considering the facts of the case," he wrote.
"The power is one that should only be used in exceptional circumstances.
"I have to bear this in mind when I am looking at a sentence."
Mr Ellis QC said lawyers in his office had been provided with case papers and evidence from the Crown Prosecution Service while considering the grounds for appeal.
"When sentencing cases of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, the judge must first consider any relevant medical evidence and decide whether to impose an order intended to treat any ongoing mental health problem," he wrote.
"In this case, the judge considered the evidence of several expert witnesses and concluded that it was necessary to impose a hospital order.
"This is a very severe order that means once the offender has recovered, she will still have to serve the remaining part of her sentence in prison.
"Given the evidence before the sentencing judge, I have concluded that the Court of Appeal is unlikely to interfere with the decision to impose this order.
"I have also reviewed the custodial sentence imposed by the judge.
"When calculating the appropriate length of custodial sentence, the judge must consider the sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council.
"The judge considered these guidelines and the relevant evidence and increased the sentence to reflect the horrific aggravating features in this case, in particular the fact the offender killed two young and vulnerable victims.
"He also reduced the sentence to reflect the offender's guilty plea, which is a reduction he is entitled to make.
"Whilst I accept that some judges may have passed a longer sentence, I do not feel I can properly argue that the sentence he imposed fell below the range of sentences that a judge could reasonably impose.
Samantha Ford detained for 10 years
"For these reasons I have concluded that it would be wrong for me to refer this sentence to the Court of Appeal.
"I appreciate you will be disappointed with my decision and nothing I can say will provide comfort at this difficult time.
"I hope you understand that I have given very serious consideration to whether I could refer this sentence to the Court of Appeal.
"Once again please accept my sincere condolences for your loss."
"The punishment should fit the crime. In this case, it certainly doesn't... mental health has been used as an excuse" - Steven Ford
Reacting to the decision, Mr Ford said: "The legal system is majorly flawed if the lives of two innocent children are only worth the pitiful sentence given by the judge," said Mr Ford.
"The punishment should fit the crime. In this case, it certainly doesn't.
"Mental health has been used as an excuse.
"The laws surrounding diminshed responsibility are flawed and to vague.
"Mental health issues are more than just depression, in this case narcissism played a huge part in this and not depression.
"The system has failed my children in many ways and I will not rest until justice has been served."
More by this authorGeoffrey Bew
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