15th April 2019, 11:49
A man who murdered his wife in a “vicious” knife attack in front of a child has been sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison.
44 year old Real Lishman, was found guilty in March of one count of murder, dating back to November 2017. His wife Carolina was 32 when she was killed.
Lishman’s lawyers say they will be appealing both his conviction and the sentence.
Lishman exercised his right to silence and did not give evidence during the trial, however his lawyer claimed he had been acting in self-defence after his wife stabbed him first. The couple had recently separated at the time of the incident.
However, at the sentencing on Monday morning, the judge Chief Justice Anthony Dudley told the Supreme Court that it was his view that this was “not a case of excessive self-defence” and that Lishman’s version of events was “not credible”. The judge explained, “the fact Carolina may at one point have wielded a knife does not mean she was the aggressor.”
Lishman inflicted twelve wounds on his wife during the attack, two of them to her back. He then turned the knife on himself while his wife lay dying.
The sentence for murder in Gibraltar is life in prison with a minimum of 15 years. However, the judge raised Lishman’s sentence to 18 years due to the “ferocity of the attack” and the number of other aggravating factors, including the difference in their size and the fact she was vulnerable as she was recovering from surgery. The judge also listed the fact the stabbing had taken place in their home, in the presence of a child, as aggravating factors in the murder. He added that Lishman placing the knife in his wife’s hand after he stabbed her, in an attempt to ‘exonerate himself’, also made the crime worse.
Mr Justice Dudley did say that Lishman was of previous good character, and that there was no evidence of pre-meditation to the murder, but explained he felt the aggravating factors outweighed this.
He added that he felt no remorse had been shown by Lishman as he had not accepted responsibility for his actions – demonstrated by the fact he has continued to claim he was acting in self-defence, denying the murder charge – “the most serious crime known to our law”.
Lishman will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. The time he has served on remand will be taken into consideration.
Under the Crimes Act, the court is able to specify a minimum prison sentence in the case of a murder conviction. The Judge told Lishman this does not mean that after 18 years he will automatically be released, but that this is when the Parole Board can undertake its first review of the case. His lawyers are expected to launch an appeal.
Mr Justice Dudley said Carolina was a young woman with two daughters and a life to look forward to. He added her death has left a vacuum that “will never be filled.” Her parents were also recognised for their “huge dignity and composure” throughout the trial.