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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 12:40 GMT
Pensioner killer's jail term appeal
Maria Rossi and Christine Molloy
Maria Rossi and Christine Molloy pleaded guilty to the murder
A woman who was jailed for the brutal murder of a pensioner 11 years ago is trying to reduce her prison term.

Maria Rossi and her friend Christine Molloy were both just 17 when they carried out the vicious killing of partially blind pensioner Edna Phillips at Hirwaun in the south Wales Valleys.

The two girls were sentenced in 1993 and, in November 2001, Rossi was told she would face a minimum tariff of 13 years in custody by the Lord Chief Justice.

She was told she would not be considered for parole before the end of this period.

But she is now challenging the refusal by Home Secretary David Blunkett to carry out periodic reviews of her jail term.

The outcome of the case in the High Court in London could affect the way all juvenile murderers are dealt with by the Home Office.

Flowers at Edna Phillips' house
Edna Phillips was attacked in her own home

The violent murder of 70-year-old Edna Phillips took place on the Pen-y-Waun estate on 16 July 1992, and left her with at least 35 wounds to her face.

The girls who carried out the attack were both high on drugs and alcohol at the time.

Molloy was handed a 12-year sentence.

'No obligation'

Rossi's lawyer now claims she is making good progress in custody, and the home secretary's refusal to carry out reviews of her sentence should be reconsidered.

Edward Fitzgerald QC is arguing the home secretary has a duty to monitor the sentences of juvenile murderers under a special legal rule which applies to children.

But David Pannick QC - defending Mr Blunkett's view, said there was no obligation to review the case.

The hearing continues.




SEE ALSO:
OAP murder trial DNA defended
26 Jul 02  |  Wales
New appeal to find OAP's killers
07 May 02  |  England


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