James Richardson sentence doubled for nearly beheading girlfriend

James Richardson Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Judges ruled the six year sentence imposed on James Richardson had been "unduly lenient"

An alcoholic who almost decapitated his girlfriend with a bread knife while celebrating the New Year has had his sentence doubled.

Judges at the Court of Appeal said the six year prison term that was imposed on James Richardson for killing Natalia Czekaj had been "unduly lenient".

The 35-year-old of Berridge Green, Edgware had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

His sentence was increased to 12 years.

It is believed that both Richardson and barmaid Ms Czekaj, 34, were functioning alcoholics and had been drinking on the evening of the killing.

'Penetrated her heart'

The court was told that while they celebrated, the jobless plumber took three knives from the kitchen and stabbed his girlfriend more than 20 times.

Richardson, who was found to be four times over the drink-drive limit, then called 999 to report the attack.

During the original trial, prosecutors had accepted James Richardson's alcohol dependency was a medical condition that substantially impaired his responsibility.

His defence lawyer had told the court although his client could not remember the killing, "his remorse and shock have been wholly genuine".

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Natalia Czekaj was stabbed more than 20 times

However, Solicitor General Robert Buckland said he had referred the sentence imposed at trial as he "felt that it did not properly reflect the severity of the case".

He said Ms Czekaj had been "stabbed in the back deeply enough to penetrate her heart" and her throat had been cut "so severely that all the structures of her neck were severed".

"I hope this increased sentence gives some comfort to the victim's family," he said.

An extended licence period of five years originally imposed at trial remains in place.

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