A Frenchman convicted of murdering his friend and burying his body in a purpose-built concrete tomb in an Ellesmere Port shed has escaped having his minimum jail term increased at the Court of Appeal.
Dominik Kocher, 35, of New Abbey in Dumfries, was sentenced to at least 23 years imprisonment at Chester Crown Court in March, after being found guilty of killing 35-year-old Ryanair flight attendant Christophe Borgye in 2009.
Mr Borgye was bludgeoned to death with a clawhammer and stabbed before his body was concealed in the outhouse of his home in Hylton Court, where it remained until 36-year-old Sebastian Bendou - who has also been convicted of his murder - confessed to the killing to police last May.
When Mr Borgye was reported missing by a colleague a month after his death, Kocher told police he had gone travelling, taking only his address book with him.
An email was then sent to Mr Borgye's family, reiterating the holiday story.
Kocher was back in court today after the attorney general, Dominic Grieve QC, referred it to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that his sentence was ‘unduly lenient’.
Barrister Sarah Whitehouse QC, who represented Mr Grieve in court, said the 23-year minimum term did not properly reflect three important aggravating features in the case.
Mrs Whitehouse told the court: “The most important is the planning and premeditation of this murder. It was, in reality, a planned execution, described by the judge as wickedness beyond comprehension.
“Whilst it is a curious feature that there was no obvious motive, nonetheless it was an unattractive feature that, having carried out the execution, the victim's possessions were then sold.
“Finally, the cruel and calculated way the victim's family were misled by the deliberate sending of a false email.”
But Lady Justice Macur, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC rejected the bid for an increase, saying the sentencing judge had specifically referred to those features of the cases.
Kocher had been described as ‘dangerous beyond measure’, Lady Justice Macur said, which would weigh heavily when the Parole Board comes to consider his potential release after the minimum term.”
She added: “The minimum term of 23 years, less the time spent on remand, will be served in full before this offender is able, and eligible, to be considered for parole.
“There is every reason, in the light of the sentencing comments which will be placed before the Parole Board, that, if the offender's release occurs at all, it will be well delayed well beyond those 23 years.”
Kocher can only be freed if he is considered safe.
Bendou will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on July 15.