Many people have been saddened and horrified by the sentence handed down to Sam Pybus for the murder of Sophie Moss. He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but not to murder, using the so-called ‘rough sex defence’ that his violence towards her, in this case strangulation, had at the outset been consensual. His plea to manslaughter was accepted and he was jailed for 4 years and 8 months.
A number of people have asked how a sentence can be reviewed as ‘unduly lenient.’ It is done through the Attorney General’s office. A template letter is provided here.
Attorney General’s Office
By email: email@example.com
Date: [before 4 October 2021]
Dear Attorney General
I am writing to you to request a review of the sentence of Sam Pybus, passed at Teesside Crown Court on 7 September 2021, as unduly lenient.
The sentence was one of four years and eight months imposed for manslaughter. Pybus had strangled Sophie Moss to death, while he was intoxicated. Although he said he could not remember what had happened, he entered a guilty plea saying it had occurred during consensual sexual activity.
The Sentencing Guidelines state that where death “was caused in the course of an unlawful act which carried a high risk of death or GBH which was or ought to have been obvious to the offender” the appropriate category for sentencing is Category B, high culpability, which carries a starting point of 12 years custody. It ought to be obvious to anybody that strangulation carries a high risk of death or GBH.
I would ask you to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient.