Natalie Bennett will learn her fate this afternoon after being found guilty of murdering her boyfriend Kasey Anderson.
Bennett, 47, previously admitted killing the 24-year-old when she stabbed in the chest, at around 6.30pm on Carr Lane East in Croxteth on March 11, this year. Mr Anderson died as a result of his injuries on March 31.
Bennett denied murder and attempted to convince a jury that she had a poor memory of the stabbing and she only struck him with a knife because they were fighting and "she was scared, scared of Kasey" and "what he was going to do".
A guilty verdict was reached after just four hours and 42 minutes of deliberations, with Bennett showing no reaction when the verdict was announced. Members of Mr Anderson's family meanwhile cried "yes" and burst into applause, before becoming tearful.
Bennett will be sentenced on today, on November 10. Judge Denis Watson KC told her: "You have been convicted of murder, for which there can only be one sentence – imprisonment for life.
"It is possible there may be some medical information that may touch on the minimum term I must assess before you can be considered for release. This is a sentence where there can be that only one sentence, which is imprisonment for life."
At the time of verdict, Stanley Reiz KC, defending, said it has been indicated that there are "signs that Ms Bennett may suffer from mental disorder, PTSD and potentially bipolar" and asked for her to be assessed by a psychiatrist before sentencing.
Merseyside Police's Detective Inspector Ben Wayment said following the verdict: “This was a vicious and calculated attack by Bennett that sadly resulted in the death of a young man. Our thoughts remain with Kasey’s family at this time, and we hope this conviction brings them some comfort."
- Jailed for life with minimum term of 18 years
- Natalie Bennett writes letter to the court
- 15-year starting point
- Kasey Anderson was clearly a very popular young man
- Bennett is in the dock
Natalie Bennett gives thumbs up as she's jailed for life over Kasey Anderson murder
Bennett showed no reaction as the sentence was passed.
She gives a thumbs up to her dad and sister as she is taken down to the cells.
Judge Watson rises, and that concludes the hearing.
Jailed for life with minimum term of 18 years
Judge Watson “No sentence I can pass can restore Kasey’s life. His friends and family will always mourn his death. Your actions have caused the waste of a human life.”
Bennett is told to stand.
She is jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.
Judge Watson points to Bennett’s mental health conditions
“You and he had a prolonged argument. The precise details will only be known to him and you. You picked up a screwdriver which you thrust at him, then a knife which you used to cause slash wounds to his ear, back and left arm and to stab him in the chest and lower left leg. You continued to be aggressive, making a sharp stabbing motion towards him close to his head. You called him a rat.
“You told the 999 operator about his deep stab wounds, even if you said you didn’t know how he came about his injuries. You mopped the floor and tried to clean up with bleach to conceal the fact you had attacked him inside your home.
“There is only one sentence for murder, you know you will serve a sentence of life imprisonment. The value of a human life and the value of Kasey's life can never be measured by the length of the sentence passed.
“I have read all of the victim statements. They were without exception moving tributes to a much loved son, family member and friend.
“The appropriate starting point is 15 years. The aggravating factors appear to be these. Your decision to pick up and use a screwdriver and a knife. Your aggression and hostility was not brief and continued outside. Your conduct in the immediate aftermath as you took steps to avoid being identified. That this was in a domestic context. The obvious suffering of Kasey Anderson as he called for help.
“Your convictions are relatively minor and do not aggravate the position.”
Of the mitigating factors, the judge says there was an intent to cause serious harm rather than kill and that there was no planning involved in the offence.
“This was a situation in which you grossly over reacted during the course of an argument.”
Judge Watson also points to Bennett’s mental health conditions.
“The report also notes your history of drinking over the years, and that you have continued to drink despite medical advice not to.”
The judge says Bennett has four drink driving convictions in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2010.
“Your emotional unstable personality disorder and alcohol and substance misuse are a large part of your own choices to drink and abuse drugs. Although you had some hair pulled out and bruises to your face and head, these are relatively minor injuries. Self defence was completely rejected as entirely unconvincing. I’m sure that you attacked him, that he tried to defend himself. That made you so angry that you picked up the screwdriver, and then the knife.”
"I am sure you were violent to him far more often than he was to you.”
Judge Watson will now pass sentence on Bennett.
“You were convicted by the jury of the murder of your partner 24yo Kasey Anderson. You attacked him on March 11 this year and he died almost three weeks later on March 31. Your relationship with him began some five years ago when he was about 19 or 20, and you were 42. It was a volatile relationship and his family watched with increasing despair as he changed from happy go lucky to someone who drank, took drugs and whose mental health deteriorated. His family saw him with injuries and black eyes on many occasions. His family were convinced, correctly in my view, that you were responsible. I am sure you were violent to him on a regular basis. Your influence over him was substantial. He was besotted with you. He always forgave you
“I accept he was not blameless. There were times when he behaved hurtfully and aggressively. I am sure you were violent to him far more often than he was to you.”
Natalie Bennett writes letter to the court
Mr Reiz will address the court now and says Bennett has written a letter to the court.
He outlines the “remorse she feels because of the loss of someone she loved.”
SR: “She described that relationship as rocky. Others described it as toxic. In a relationship such as that, fuelled by drugs and alcohol, those relationships are often not one sided. There were difficulties but also happy times.
“In my submission, there are no factors which take it beyond those which are inherent in a case such as this. The crown submit that the court could conclude this was a relation where the def exercised control or coercive behaviour on Kasey Anderson. I would submit the court has insufficient evidence. There was evidence of arguments between them on multiple occasions. The court heard about bruises on Kasey Anderson which his family suspected were caused during arguments with the defendant, but there is nothing more than that.”
Mr Reiz also says his client was injured during an argument with Mr Anderson on at least one occasion.
“What happened was an argument fuelled by substances which resulted in the tragic circumstances in this case. There are powerful mitigating circs. The Crown cannot be sure there was an intent to kill. The Crown accept there was a lack of premeditation. We submit that what occurred was spontaneous.”
Mr Reiz says Bennett has been diagnosed with “a number of mental disorders”, including a personality disorder and suspected ADHD.
“There is a liability to outbursts of emotion. This personality disorder is characterised by a low tolerance to frustration. In addition, Ms Bennet suffers from complex PTSD. It is apparent she has witnessed traumatic incidences during the course of her life.
“Ms Bennett was an alcoholic, she was drinking every day to excess. There is no doubt that affected her behaviour. Kasey Anderson and Ms Bennett would often get on when they were sober, but as they went on to take drink it escalated. On this occasion, it led to tragic circumstances."
Mr Reiz says his client also has addictions to prescription medication.
“She has lived a chaotic lifestyle, but this is a woman who has four children – two of whom are very young. Her incarceration will no doubt be felt by them.
“There was evidence of injury sustained by Ms Bennett after this incident. What happened in that house, other than the defendant’s account, is unknown. The defendant has said this was a violent incident with both sides using force. She did receive injuries to her left eye and eyelid. She did have swelling at the top of her head, and a lump of her hair was found on the floor where the incident occurred. The court cannot exclude the possibility that the defendant had acted to an extent in fear of violence.
“The previous convictions are mostly old. The defendant has not committed any offence of violence as serious as this. She is not someone convicted of aggressive acts over the years. The Crown refer to two offences. I cannot submit she’s a woman of good character, but I would submit her pre cons do not aggravate the offence.
“Ms Bennett recognises the way she behaved after Kasey Anderson was injured at her hands was disgraceful. She is deeply ashamed at how she behaved. She can provide some explanation, but there is little doubt she was under the influence of alcohol. One thing she did do is that when she was able to get her phone from Kasey Anderson as he was fatally wounded, he had given the wrong location to the emergency services. She was able to correct that, describe how seriously he was injured. She is vulnerable to criticism about the way she behaved, but this was a man she loved.”
15-year starting point
Mr Pratt addresses the judge “The only sentence of course is a sentence of life imprisonment. It is plainly a 15-year starting point on the guidelines.
“The circumstances are unknown, other than to the defendant.”
Of Bennett’s previous convictions, the prosecutor says she was convicted of affray in September 2004 and received a suspended sentence in May 2015 for battery.
Mr Pratt adds: “She has received sentences for offences of dishonesty.”
'The worst nightmare of all happened and the doctors told us Kasey’s fight was over'
“A gentleman is a civilised, educated and well mannered man. This is how I would describe Kasey Anderson. He was an old fashioned soul, loved his family. He’d be the first to say hi to a new person he met. I can’t seem to register in my mind he won’t be here any more. The puzzle pieces will not join together. I spent three weeks begging him to pull through and come home. I never dreamed in a million years he would be taken away from us in such a violent way.”
“The worst nightmare of all happened and the doctors told us Kasey’s fight was over.”
“The pain in his father’s eyes makes my heart break. A man who would continuously have a smile on his face and bear hug you has not got the energy to hug you back any more. You now find him staring into space. His mind ventures to his lost boy.”
“His little sister was so close to Kasey, it was like they were twins. Even though she was going through the worst stage of her life, she helped us with her funny quirky personality. She struggles to smile anymore. She is confused, broken angry and crying out for her big brother to come back to her. Her daily life is full of tears. I have to watch her spirit break every day.”
“Kasey idolised his little brother. Whatever the weather, he would always have him by his side. He’s always repeating day after day, 'where’s Kasey?' He doesn’t understand Kasey isn’t here anymore. This amazing family has to be reminded by his confused little brother who just wants him to come home.”
Says of Denise: “She is so broken. Denise doesn’t have children but she had Kasey, and he was her world. She will not walk into her bedroom to find him with the hairdryer on in bed, getting warm. She will never feel his hand touching her shoulder. She won’t have the extra roast dinner to make, she won’t have extra washing to put on. She now walks down the street and cries to herself. She’s lost the love of her life, the child she didn’t give birth to but was hers. Her lad, Kasey.
“Kasey’s friends are broken. There is a missing piece in their group, a missing laugh that won’t mix in with their group any more. If Kasey had £5 and they had nothing, they would have £2.50 each.
“He was the most amazing person. I know how deeply Kasey can love someone. His family are missing a soul that they will never meet again. They won’t share his laughs when he’s telling a story, laughing so hard that he can’t finish. His little cousin will never experience a fishing trip with him again or have a big brother figure to guide him through life.
“How can they ever recover from this?”
“For Kasey to get justice would be equivalent to that million pound lottery win he always dreamed of.”
Dad shares 'first promise' to Kasey
Graham Anderson/Jackie Morris
"Kasey was born in London
“My life was changed due to the joy he brought into my life. My first promise was to keep him safe. Unfortunately, I was unable to protect him.
“He would make everyone feel wanted and let them know he was there if they needed a friend. Kasey grew up playing football, fishing at the local pond. Kasey was the best big brother. He is never able to become a father himself. I see Kasey's friends accomplish their goals in life. My heart breaks that Kasey will never be able to achieve these things.
“Since that day I have lost myself, my family is broken into a million pieces. My family will never get over this. There is an empty chair at the table that will never be filled. We can’t hear songs on the radio that Kasey used to love. We’re not able to enjoy them the way we used to.
“Kasey will be heartbroken we are going through this pain. Kasey was not perfect. He had his faults, like everyone. Kase was the first to own up to his actions and always said sorry. Kasey would always say he would become famous and a millionaire. On his funeral, this was accomplished. The community stood still with him. He never just died that day, we all did. You were truly one in a million. Dreams don’t come true, but you will always be in our dreams. If there was one person who did not deserve this, it was you. I would give my life for you.”
Of Bennett: “She did nothing to help him or get him medical help.”
Thanks staff at Aintree Hospital, “where Kasey spent the last weeks of his life surrounded by his family”, and Merseyside Police.
“We have said time after time we could not have been surrounded by more helpful people. Katie, our Family Liasion Officer, has been like one of our own. Katie has gone above and beyond to make sure everyone has received the support they need. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your smile and Scottish humour have kept us smiling on our worst days. We have met a friend for life.”
Urges anyone suffering from domestic abuse “stand up tall”, adding: “speaking up is not a weakness. It is the biggest strength you can show.”
Denise Anderson's Victim Personal Statement
“From the moment his dad brought him home, we fell in love with him. My lad is missed so much and I am broken.
“Before Kasey was taken from me I loved my life. I loved to come home knowing I had him to come home to. Kasey was my world. We did everything together throughout his life. I took him on his first holiday to Tenerife where his granddad taught him to swim. He met dolphins and parrots.
He was taken to Disneyland Paris aged four. “I still think of the excitement in his eyes.
“Kasey was the most pleasant lad you could come across. He would meet me at the supermarket to carry my shopping."
They would have breakfast at the Beatles Cafe in town where he “loved the breakfasts”
Now she says: “The house is empty, I would rather watch each bus pass by until I have the energy to get on one. I no longer have Kasey waiting for me at my stop.”
“I will never again have his cheeky personality winding me up. I will never tell him off for leaving the porch door open. I will never again see his beautiful big smiling face or feel his arm swinging round my shoulder. I will never see him become a dad and have a family of his own. My world is broken and everyone in Croxteth is broken. They all miss his smiling face and beautiful personality.”
Kasey Anderson was clearly a very popular young man
The judge enters the courtroom and we are ready to begin.
He confirms that three jurors are returning for the sentencing and asks for them to be brought in.
Mr Pratt says: “The defendant was convicted by the jury of murder on October 4. The case was adjourned for the enabling of a psychiatric report.
“The deceased, Kasey Anderson, received a number of wounds suggesting he was subjected to an attack involving a number of blows with a sharp implement. There was one penetrating injury which caused serious injury and led to a brain injury, likely the cause of death."
Mr Pratt says he made “desparate pleas for help” during a 999 call, and Bennett aimed a “blow at his head” with a knife outside afterwards.
He adds: “The jury rejected self-defence.”
RP: “Kasey Anderson was clearly a very popular young man. No fewer than 12 victim personal statements have been obtained.”
Judge Watson confirms he has read all of these.
RP: “It is fair to say that they speak with one view as to the joy, now lost, that Kasey brought into their lives. I’ve been asked to read out three. Those of Denise Anderson, his close paternal aunt, a joint one from Graham Anderson, his father, and his step mother, and Millie Leather, who describes Kasey as her first love.”
Bennett is in the dock
Bennett is brought into the dock.
She is wearing all black, including a suit jacket, and glasses and brown hair.
Family members present
The public gallery is beginning to full up now.
Around 40 members of Mr Anderson’s family are present.
We understand that three members of the jury will also be returning for the hearing.
Good afternoon, we’re in position in courtroom 51 now.
The sentencing was listed to begin at 2.15pm, but we understand will now commence at around 2.30pm
Just to run you through the various parties in the case.
Richard Pratt KC appears for the prosecution, with Stanley Reiz KC defending Bennett.
Judge Denis Watson KC will be passing sentence this afternoon.
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