Janelle Duncan-Bailey's family launch appeal against killer Jerome McDonald's sentence and police investigation
The family of a Thornton Heath mum strangled by her ex-boyfriend have launched an appeal against the length of his jail term and may complain to the police watchdog about the investigation into her death.
Jerome McDonald throttled Janelle Duncan-Bailey and attacked her with a hammer before hiding her dead body in the boot of his car in January 2, but could walk free from prison in less than four years after a jury at the Old Bailey cleared him of murder earlier this month.
Judge Gerald Gordon sentenced 31-year-old McDonald to eight years behind bars following his conviction for the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the killer could serve just half that term.
The parents of Miss Duncan-Bailey, a 25-year-old special needs school nurse, of Pawsons Road, have referred the sentence to the Attorney General's office, which will consider if the court was "unduly lenient".
Miss Duncan-Bailey's aggrieved family are also seeking legal advice as they consider complaining to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about the investigation into her death.
They believe key witnesses were not quizzed by police soon enough after the discovery of her and want to know why officers did not take her home after being called to a blazing row about child support at Mr McDonald's Fairlands Avenue house.
During Mr McDonald's trial, a police constable who escorted Miss Duncan-Bailey from the Fairlands Avenue told the court she had refused to provide her address, but his notes taken on the night revealed she had.
Jerome McDonald was jailed for eight years for the killing
Croydon North MP Steve Reed said he had "serious concerns" about the Metropolitan Police's investigation and had advised the family to approach the IPCC.
Mr Reed, who met Richard Duncan, Miss Duncan-Bailey's father, on Friday, said: "On the face of it, there are some really genuine concerns about how the investigation was conducted and then how the case itself was conducted in court.
"My view is that this needs to be investigated properly."
He added: "I think there are serious concerns about the whole investigation, not just the sentencing."
The Attorney General's office confirmed it was considering Mr McDonald's case and would reach a decision by October 4.
If it concludes the sentence was unduly lenient, it will refer the case to the Court of Appeal, where High Court judges will rule on whether to lengthen the jail term.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police service has provided advice and support to the family of Janelle Duncan-Bailey to enable them to raise concerns with the Attorney General's office concerning the length of sentence given to Jerome McDonald."
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