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R v Tony McLernon Sentencing Remarks of Mr Justice Fulford

March 11, 2013, 2:22 pm

This incident, brutal and terrible in itself,must be putin itstrue context, and thatisthat you have an
undoubted capacity to act violently and dangerously towards others and particularly young women
with whomyou have a sexualrelationship, whether or not underthe influence of alcohol. The
evidence fromKimberly Mitchell and Jessica Matthews,together with the history of yourrelationship
with the deceased, has vividly demonstrated the troubling way in which you control, dominate,
degrade, bully and finally attack women in these circumstances. I found the evidence called by the
prosecution on thisissue compelling, and your behaviour has demonstrated a consistent pattern
overmany years, butitis notlimited to women asthe attack on James Abingerlast year vividly
revealed.
Aslong ago as 2004 you attacked Kimberly Mitchell when you were 15 and 14 respectively.Overthe
2 years of yourrelationship with her you prevented herfromseeing herfriends and she practically
ceased going to school, you undermined herself‐confidence and self esteem, you assaulted her
violently and you threatened her with knives. The assaultsincluded punching her,stamping or
treading on her head and holding knives against her body in a terrifying way. In 2006 your violence
resulted in a hairline fracture to herjaw and bad bruising to herface. You even hit herinside a police
station, causing her head to bounce off a glass partition. You threatened Jessica Matthews, another
of your girlfriends, with a knife inOct 2007, when you ordered herto knees and told herthat you
would stab herifshemoved, having placed the knife,more than once, against herstomach. The
police who arrested you witnessed thisincident. You repeatedly punched James Abingers head,
whilst holding himdown, because he contradicted you. You repeatedly and brutally assaulted Eystna
Blunnie during the course of yourrelationship and herfriends and family frequently saw very bad
bruising to her upper body, of which she was ashamed and tried to hide and about which you
persuaded herlie, particularly by suggesting it wasthe result of play fighting. It would seemthatDr
Locke andDr Abou‐El‐Fadl are undoubtedly correct when they describe you as having an emotionally
unstable personality disorder which is characterised, amongst otherthings, by displays of extreme
anger and rage.However,themedical profession has evaluated you overthe years on the basis of
only a partial history, because the doctors have been unaware ofthe extent ofthe violence I have
just described and you lied significantly toDr Abou‐El‐Fadl aboutthe course of yourrelationship with
Eystna Blunnie,to say nothing ofthe circumstances of her death. You falsely blamed herfor
everything and you failed to revealthe repeated violence you visited on her,together with way you
controlled and bullied her.
You repeatedly indicated that you wanted Eystna Blunnie significantly harmed or killed. In April you
strangled her with such force she thought you were going to kill her and her baby started reacting in
distress. Itislikely she only survived because your parentsintervened.On 3 May 2012 you sent a textmessage to Jo Bishop stating “I wantsomeone just kick the shit out of her‘n leaveme alone”.On 23
June you senttwo particulartextmessages,the firststated “IswearImgoing prison Monday… My
ex is propertying to ruinmy relationship withmy girl” and the second “I Fucking swear bro Imgonna
knife Eystna soon…Shes properruiningmy relationship !!” When E was 7months pregnantNatasha
Turner heard you tellthe deceased thatshe and her child would notmake itfulltermand in June
2012 you sent Eystna a texttelling hershe would notmake itthrough her pregnancy.
This was not,therefore, a spontaneous offence which wasthe result of an unthinkingmoment of
anger butinstead you had contemplated her death and the destruction of your child over a long
period oftime. The textmessagesrevealthe unrelenting emotional pressure which you broughtto
bear on hertomeet you in the early hours ofthemorning in a relatively deserted place,
notwithstanding the factthatshe feltill and was aboutto give birth. They also demonstrate that
notwithstanding the alcohol you had consumed, you knew exactly what you were doing, no doubt
because you have become accustomed to dealing with the effects of very heavy drinking. Whether
you had finally decided to kill her before she set out or only formed thatintention during the
argumentthat ensued is ofsecondary importance. The critical factorinmy view isthatfor a
significant period oftime you had given serious consideration to ending herlife and destroying your
child, and havingmet her you did the very thing that you had long contemplated and threatened.
The circumstances ofthe killing were terrible. The prolonged and agonised screams heard by those
living nearby reveal beyond doubtthe pain you inflicted and the length oftime you took to kill her.
For a significant period that young woman would have known exactly what was happening to her and
the fatal consequencesfor her child, and she would have been in agony. In your evidence you
described twomen jumping up and down on Eystna and kicking herto death. I have no doubtthat all
you did in this case wasto attribute your own actionsto these fictional individuals as part of your
defence which the jury hasrejected. I amsure that you jumped up and down on, and delivered heavy
kicksto,the upper body and particularly the head ofthat young woman.
Itfollowsthis wasin a realsense a planned, deliberate, cruel and prolonged attack on someone who
had been close to you for a considerable period oftime and who was aboutto give birth to your
daughter. Your history reveals how dangerous you are, particularly asregardsthose with whomyou
are having a sexualrelationship, and you have notshown the smallestindication ofremorse. Instead,
you have soughtto traduce the name and thememory ofthe deceased.
This was, in essence, a doublemurder. Whateverthe formal position,the child wasso close to being
born thatto treatthis case in any other way would be a travesty.
I have borne inmind yourrelative youth, alcoholism, personality disorder and lack ofsignificant
criminal convictions. Butthose factors offer only slightmitigation when set beside the terrible crimes
you committed in June of last year.
The sentence forthemurder of Eystna Blunnie which I amaboutto passis, in a realsense, partially
dependent on the offence of child destruction, because the starting pointfortheminimumtermis
founded on the seriousness of count 1 and the combination ofthe homicide offence and the offence
of child destruction with which itisinextricably linked.Given count 2 has been a critical
consideration in reaching the sentence on count 1, it would be wholly artificialto impose a separate
notionalsentence on count 2. Indeed,the sentence on count 2 could only be reached by reference
back to themurder of Eystna Blunnie. Forthatreason there will be no separate penalty for count 2
because that offence and itsseriousness have been entirely incorporated into the sentence on count
1.
Page 2 of 3 The sentence on count 1 is amandatory life sentence and the defendant willserve aminimumof 27
years before consideration can be given to hisrelease on licence

 
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