Woman serving life in jail for stabbing ex-partner wins right to appeal murder conviction

A young woman who was sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing her former partner has been granted the right to appeal against her murder conviction. Farieissia Martin stabbed Kyle Farrell, 21, during an argument at her home in Liverpool in November 2014. Lawyers supporting Martin allege the mother of two endured years of violence…

A young woman who was sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing her former partner has been granted the right to appeal against her murder conviction.

Farieissia Martin stabbed Kyle Farrell, 21, during an argument at her home in Liverpool in November 2014.

Lawyers supporting Martin allege the mother of two endured years of violence and coercive and controlling behaviour at the hands of Farrell.

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Martin, who was 22 when she was convicted of murder but is now 26, was imprisoned for at least 13 years after being found guilty of murder at Liverpool Crown Court in June 2015.

Her attempt to have her conviction overturned has been supported by campaign group Justice for Women.

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Three leading judges granted Martin permission to bring a full challenge against her conviction at the Court of Appeal in London on Tuesday.

Martin’s lawyers say there is fresh medical evidence relating to her mental state at the time of the killing.

Justice for Women says the evidence points to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by Farrell’s violence.

Lady Justice Simler said it is “arguable” evidence about the mental disorders she had at the time of the killing would have affected the jury’s verdict. A date has not yet been scheduled for Martin’s appeal.

Harriet Wistrich, Martin’s solicitor, told The Independent she was “very relieved” the court have given Martin permission to appeal her conviction.

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The award-winning human rights lawyer said: “Farieissia is really delighted she has been given another chance. She experienced a whole range of coercive and controlling behaviours – including repeated sexual violence and physical violence. The full picture of domestic abuse was not put before the jury.

“Due to the Sally Challen case, the court recognised the constellation of coercive and controlling forms of abuse that were present in the relationship. The full significance of those forms of behaviour was not put before the jury.

“There are too many women serving life sentences because the court does not properly accommodate the context of coercive and control and violence. We hope these cases change this.”  

Martin’s appeal comes after Sally Challen‘s landmark case gained the backing of leading domestic abuse charities and cross-party MPs earlier in the year.

Ms Challen, a domestic abuse victim jailed for killing her husband in a hammer attack, was allowed to walk free in June after the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction in February.

The mother of two, who spent nearly a decade behind bars after being imprisoned for life in 2011, admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband.

Mr Justice Edis said the killing followed “years of controlling, isolating and humiliating conduct” with the added provocation of her husband’s “serial multiple infidelity”.

David Challen, her 31-year-old son, told The Independent in a previous interview his father had frequently conducted affairs and visited brothels, but relentlessly lied about this to his mother, tricking her into questioning her own sanity. 

David Challen speaks to The Independent’s Women’s correspondent Maya Oppenheim about his mother’s case

Mr Challen, who is now a prominent domestic abuse campaigner, said: “I am so pleased the Court of Appeal has granted Farieissia the right to appeal her murder conviction.

“Farieissia’s case exemplifies the urgent need to review the mistakes made by the criminal justice system in failing to recognising the mental impact abuse and sexual assault has on the victims. Farieissia’s appeal is another opportunity for justice and for us as a society to learn, to stop abuse and stop loss of life.”​

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