In the Media

Killer jail term appeal rejected

PUBLISHED May 16, 2006

A man who murdered and dismembered a friend and dumped him in a lake has failed to win a cut in the 18-year minimum sentence he must serve.

In November 2005 at Norwich Crown Court, Edward Simmons, 34, of Bromley, London, was jailed for 18 years for killing Alexander Brown, 36.

Mr Brown's remains were found at Pentney Lakes, Norfolk, in March, 2005.

Simmons asked for a sentence reduction on the grounds of his previous good character, but this was rejected.

Mr Brown, 36, from Beckenham, went missing while visiting Simmons at his parents' Swaffham home in October 2004.

The plasterer's dismembered remains were found in bags in the nearby lake five months later.

 Mr Brown's remains were found five months after he went missing

After rejecting claims his 18-year minimum term should be cut because of his previous good character, Lady Justice Hallett added: "Indeed, some may consider this appellant to have been fortunate".

Michael Cousens, for Simmons, told the Appeal Court the sentencing judge was wrong to conclude that previous good character could not be treated as a mitigating feature to reduce the minimum term he imposed.

Sitting with Mr Justice Gibbs and Judge Stephen Stewart QC, Lady Justice Hallett accepted there were circumstances when it could be mitigation, but they did not apply in this case.

While Simmons had no previous convictions - she said his lifestyle could not be described as "unblemished" - he had decided to contest his obvious guilt.

"He decided on the flimsiest evidence to act as judge, jury and executioner of Mr Brown," she said, agreeing with the sentencing judge's description of it being an "evil" plan.