An appeal by Katrina Makunova’s family for her killer’s ‘unduly lenient’ sentence to be increased has been rejected by the government’s most senior solicitor.
Oluwaseyi Dada, aged 21, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison in January after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his seventeen-year-old ex-girlfriend.
The court heard Katrina, from Lewisham, had died on July 12, 2018, after falling on a knife she had been carrying in her handbag during an argument in a block of flats on Camberwell’s Brisbane Street, where Dada lived.
Police say the pair’s relationship had deteriorated into a series of ‘veiled threats’ and recriminations via social media in the weeks before she died.
Katrina’s family criticised the sentence as ‘unbelievable’ and said Katrina had complained ‘many times to the police that she was in fear of her life’. A petition calling for an appeal has nearly 300 signatures.
Their campaign was backed by Camberwell and Peckham MP and former lawyer Harriet Harman, who served as general solicitor from June 2001 to May 2005.
Harman told the News: “Everything is wrong in the reports about this case,” describing it as a ‘domestic homicide’.
But the appeal was rejected by Robert Buckland QC, the government’s most senior lawyer.
In a letter dated February 27, the solicitor general explained: “Having carefully reviewed the papers I am satisfied that the judge approached the sentencing in the correct way, and in the line with the basis of plea and on the extraordinary facts of this case.
“It would therefore not be right for me to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.”
Harman says she is now seeking a meeting with the new director of public prosecutions to discuss charging decisions, and the prosecution of domestic homicides.
A spokesperson from the Attorney General’s Office further explained: “A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.
“The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”
The family have also criticised the police’s handling of the investigation; saying Katrina had made numerous complaints to officers about alleged abuse and humiliation by her older partner, a previously convicted ‘county lines drug dealer’, which were not followed up.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct confirmed in January of this year it was investigating the conduct of five officers involved in the alleged reports of domestic abuse made by Katrina between February and June last year.