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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 12:26 GMT
Axe killer's sentence reduced
Jan Charlton
The jury concluded that Charlton was provoked
A former escort girl who killed her lover with an axe at their West Yorkshire home has had her sentenced reduced by the Court of Appeal.

Janet Charlton, 36, was convicted of the manslaughter of 41-year-old Danny O'Brien in her trial at Leeds Crown Court in May 2002.

Charlton, who was not present at the appeal hearing, inflicted at least 20 blows to Mr O'Brien's skull and shoulders with a fireman's axe.

Appeal court judges Mr Justice Jackson and Mr Justice Elias said they thought her five-year jail term for manslaughter was "excessive".

Early release

The decision to cut her sentence to three-and-a-half years could mean Charlton will be released in a few months time.

Her solicitor Carl Kingsley said after the hearing: "It was an excellent result. She will be very pleased. It is a very compassionate sentence."

During her seven week trial, Leeds Crown Court heard how Mr O'Brien was found lying naked, gagged, handcuffed and blindfolded in the bedroom of their house in Midgley, Wakefield, on 23 May 2001.

The 2ft long axe was still sticking out of his head.

Extreme provocation

Judge Norman Jones QC told Charlton that she had committed a "grave offence" which left him no choice but to sentence her for a "significant" number of years.

The jury rejected her claim she had killed Danny O'Brien in self defence after he threatened to kill her three-year-old daughter.

But they concluded that she was provoked through months of sexual demands.

The prosecution had alleged that Charlton killed him in "revenge" because he intended to return to a former girlfriend.

At the appeal hearing it was argued that the trial judge failed to give sufficient credit for points that could be made in mitigation, including her age, previous good character, and the "extreme" provocation.

Her counsel, John Elvidge, said she was a devoted and caring mother who was no risk to the community "or any given individual".

He added that the "unique" case merited a significantly lesser term of imprisonment.


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27 May 02 | England
27 May 02 | England
08 May 02 | England
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