Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Suffolk bolt gun killer's minimum sentence increased

Mary Griffiths
Mary Griffiths, who was being stalked, was shot in front of her daughters

A murderer who killed a woman with a bolt gun has had his life sentence tariff increased from 20 to 30 years.

Mary Griffiths, 38, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, died on 6 May 2009 when John McFarlane, 40, broke into her home.

He was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in November 2009 but the Appeal Court said this was too lenient.

McFarlane attacked Mrs Griffiths, his friend, over a Facebook message saying he was "delusional" if he thought they would ever have a relationship.

In the middle of the night slaughterman McFarlane dragged Mrs Griffiths from a room where she had been sleeping with her 10-year-old daughter and beat her.

She was then shot twice in the chest and once in the left shoulder with a bolt gun normally used for stunning livestock in an abattoir.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges in London, agreed with Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, that the original 20-year minimum period was "unduly lenient".

John McFarlane
John McFarlane broke into his victim's home during the night

The Attorney General said: "John McFarlane brutally murdered his former friend Mary Griffiths in an attack which witnesses described as 'clinical, deliberate, and like an execution'.

"The assault took place in front of the victim's children.

"I hope this outcome provides some comfort to the family of Mary Griffiths."

A family statement said: "We were not satisfied with the severity of the sentence considering the sheer brutality John McFarlane inflicted on our beautiful sister, Mary Frances.

"We feel strongly that justice was not fully served last November.

"It is with heavy hearts that we stand here today having achieved what we set out to, by making this appeal.

"Our objective was for John McFarlane's sentence to be reflective of the heinous crime he forced on our sister Mary Frances and the nightmare her three children have had to endure as a result of his evil actions."

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