'Killer's sentence not a day too long'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 October, 1999, 12:00am

A burglar who strangled to death a frail 66-year-old woman during a break-in at her home was told by appeal judges yesterday that his 12-year jail term was 'not a day too long'.

Lau Kwok-leung, 22, had urged the Court of Appeal to slash his sentence, arguing it was excessive compared to the penalties imposed in other cases.

Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore said: 'The question we ask ourselves, bearing in mind the dreadful facts of this case when viewed as a whole, is whether a sentence of 12 years in total was manifestly excessive for a man who had broken into the home of a comparatively frail and elderly lady and killed her in the course of robbery.

'We do not think so. Indeed, we venture to suggest that where a person goes into the house of another in order to steal, and for whatever reason ends up killing an innocent occupant in circumstances amounting to manslaughter, the court will be very slow to interfere with any sentence in the region of 12 years.' The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Simon Mayo and Mr Justice Arthur Leong, said Lau was not caused any injustice. 'The sentence, in our view, was not a day too long.' Leung was convicted of the manslaughter of Leung Wing in Shun Yi Sun Chuen, Ma Tso Lung, Lok Ma Chau, on May 20 last year. He also admitted robbing her of $20,000.

In April, a jury cleared him of murder after he claimed he had not meant to cause her harm and had strangled her while trying to stop her screaming.