Jail term cut for murderer

A COMPUTER engineer who strangled his ex-wife before leaving her body for their young son to find has had his minimum prison term cut after top judges heard he was depressed at the time.

Ian Christopher Madden, 59, was given a life sentence by a judge at Southwark Crown Court in April 2004 after he was found guilty of murdering his 30-year-old ex-wife Lynne at her home in North Road, Havering-atte-Bower in December 2002.

The judge ordered that Madden, formerly of Eaton Avenue, Greenford, Middlesex, must spend at least 18 years behind bars before he could even apply for parole.

But his lawyers felt the judge had not taken into consideration the fact that Madden was suffering from depression in the time leading up to the murder and brought his case to the Court of Appeal.

Three top judges agreed and reduced Madden’s mimimum term to 16 years.

Mr Justice Davis told the court how Madden had grown jealous of his ex-wife’s new relationship with Steven Squires, a man she met at a dance class.

Mr Squires spotted Madden hanging around outside his ex-wife’s house on the night of December 14, 2002, and her body was found the next day.

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Pathologists found that she had been strangled using a rope before that rope was tied to a beam to make the death look like a suicide. Madden denied carrying out the murder despite his DNA being found under the fingernails of his ex-wife’s body.

Lawyers for Madden told the court he had since admitted his guilt and has been diagnosed with “an underlying, long-standing depressive illness”, dating back to 1983.

They said this had not been considered by the judge when imposing a minimum prison term for Madden after the trial, and he would have reduced the sentence if he had.

Mr Justice Davies, sitting with Lord Justice Leveson and Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones, said: “We do find it very troubling that nowhere in his sentencing remarks does the judge make reference to the illness the applicant had been suffering.

“We will quash the 18 years and substitute a minumum term of 16 years.”