Early word from the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice is that Sabine McNeill has lost the appeal against her nine-year sentence for four counts of stalking and six counts of violating a restraining order. The sentence, while long, had already been reduced by HHJ Sally Cahill QC on account of Sabine’s age.
The panel of judges—Lord Justice Leggatt, Mr Justice William Davis, and HHJ Michael Chambers QC—refused Sabine’s appeal, meaning she’ll remain incarcerated at HMP Bronzefield for the duration.
Sabine was represented by Tom Stevens, who represented Rupert Quaintance at his 2017 trial.
Stevens cited his client’s advanced age, her health, and her remorse as mitigating factors which ought to be taken into account by the judges. The court made short work of each.
Leggatt LJ pointed out that Sabine’s age had already been accounted for in the original sentence, and noted that in any case, 74 did not seem a terribly advanced age.
As for Sabine’s health, he asked whether she had a terminal illness, and whether her various ailments could be dealt with in prison. Stevens acknowledged that they could.
Turning to Sabine’s alleged remorse, which Stevens said was evidenced by her having removed many of her posts from the internet, Leggatt LJ noted that part of her sentence was a Criminal Behaviour Order which compelled her to do just that. It was not, he said, evidence of remorse.
He pointed out that during Sabine’s trial she had stated unequivocally that she would “believe those children” until she died, and that she has said nothing since then which would contradict that statement.
In their written judgment, the Court called this the most horrific case of stalking they had ever seen, and said that in view of this, her original sentence seemed to be on the lenient side. So saying, they denied Sabine’s appeal.
Updated: 2:15 pm, 30 July 2019