Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man. Previously in this campaign, which started on the 2nd of May 2021, I have remembered 110 women, the last being Naomi Hersi, a trans woman.
Today we remember Janet Muller.
A man has been jailed for 17 years for the “vile” manslaughter of a student he burned to death in the boot of a car. Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw, 27, of Lakeside, Beckenham, south-east London was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court. German national Janet Muller, 21, was found in a burnt-out car by Ifield Golf Club, near Horsham, on 13 March 2015. Jeffrey-Shaw had been found guilty of manslaughter but not of the alternative charge of murdering Ms Muller.
Sentencing Jeffrey-Shaw, the judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith, said: “The only difference between you and a murderer is an extremely thin line.”
Ms Muller’s beaten and burned body was found in the boot of a Volkswagen Jetta which the defendant had dumped. Jeffrey-Shaw, who has previous convictions for blackmail and harassment, had admitted setting the car alight but denied murder, claiming he did not know the Brighton University student was in the car. He told the court he had been involved with drug dealers who borrowed his hire car for a robbery that went wrong, then ordered him to set fire to the vehicle.
On sentencing, Mr Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith said he rejected the defendant’s account and ruled he had witnessed her being put in the car.
He said: “I cannot find, on the basis of the jury’s verdict, he was responsible for the head injuries, but he knew she was in the boot.” Speaking directly to Jeffrey-Shaw, he said: “What you did was deeply shocking and callous beyond belief and at every stage since you set fire to the car in which she died, you have lied and lied in your attempt to evade all responsibility for what you did.
“On the jury’s verdict, the only reason you are not guilty of murder is that you did not have the human decency to check if the person in the boot of your car was dead or alive.” He added: “You deprived Miss Muller’s parents of their daughter and her twin sister of her other half in a most devastating way.”
After the verdict, Miss Muller’s family said they were not happy it was manslaughter rather than murder.
Detective Supt Karen Mizzi told the BBC: “We respect the decision of the jury… We knew Mr Jeffrey-Shaw and Janet Muller were in Brighton at roughly the same time but we were not able to secure evidence that brought them together… That was a significant issue for the jury to consider.”
#Every Three Days