Murder wife must stay in jail for 30 years

A WOMAN who planned the cold-blooded murder of her husband has failed to win a cut in the minimum 30 years she must spend behind bars after top judges concluded it was not a day too long. For this very serious crime, the sentence passed by the judge was

A WOMAN who planned the cold-blooded murder of her husband has failed to win a cut in the minimum 30 years she must spend behind bars after top judges concluded it was not a day too long.

"For this very serious crime, the sentence passed by the judge was not in any way excessive, let alone manifestly excessive," said Lord Justice Gage in London's Criminal Appeal Court last Thursday.

Sitting with Mrs Justice Dobbs and Judge Mettyear, he earlier refused to grant Elizabeth Donoghue permission to challenge her murder conviction, rejecting claims it was "unsafe".

Donoghue, 42, of Little Hyde, Stevenage, was jailed for life at Cambridge Crown Court in May last year after being found guilty of murdering James Donoghue, 35.


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The jury heard evidence relating to their marital problems and to Donoghue having persuaded her husband to take out a large life insurance

policy in the lead-up to the shooting.

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The judge said "her close friend and, perhaps, boyfriend" Christopher Reed, 54, was also convicted of murder, having been found to have pulled the trigger when Mr Donoghue was shot dead as he sat in his lounge on the evening of April 23, 2004.

Reed, of Vicarage Road, Watford, and Donoghue were both ordered to serve at least 30 years behind bars before they could be considered for release on parole.

Donoghue's barrister, Louis French, said her client was not the person who obtained or fired the gun.

He referred to her previous good character - in stark contrast to Reed, whose previous convictions included kidnap, indecent assault, rape, burglary and possessing a shotgun without a certificate.

But Lord Justice Gage said the difference in character "is a factor of no importance and significance in a matter as serious as this".

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