Sentence in knife-in-handbag manslaughter case 'unlikely to satisfy either side'

Sentence in knife-in-handbag manslaughter case 'unlikely to satisfy either side'
Sentence in knife-in-handbag manslaughter case 'unlikely to satisfy either side'

The judge in a "very unusual" manslaughter case in which a teenager fell on to a knife inside her handbag has said any sentence he passes is not likely to fully satisfy either the victim's or defendant's families.

Nicholas Loraine-Smith is due to sentence Oluwaseyi Dada, 21, who has admitted the manslaughter of his 17-year-old girlfriend Katrina Makunova, on Wednesday or Thursday, Southwark Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Miss Makunova died during a row with Dada, falling onto a 19.5cm knife she had inside her handbag, which pierced her chest and heart, with the blade penetrating around 17.5cm deep, the court heard.

The judge told the courtroom, which was filled with relatives and friends of the defendant and the victim, that any sentence is likely to be seen as "too low, as far as her family are concerned, and too high, as far as his family are concerned".

The judge added: "This is a very unusual case for all sorts of reasons."

The incident happened in Camberwell, south London, on July 12 last year, at the block of flats where Dada lived after the pair exchanged heated and threatening texts.

Relations between the couple, who had dated for two years, had "become increasingly turbulent" and in the months leading up to Miss Makunova's death, she made several allegations to police of assault and harassment against Dada, the court heard.

The alleged incidents included Dada threatening Miss Makunova's sister with a knife, throwing food and drink over Miss Makunova, pushing, grabbing and assaulting her, and taking her phone away.

Prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said: "Katrina Makunova was killed when a knife that was inside her handbag punctured her breast, chest and ultimately her heart, leading to her almost instant death as a result of a push or a shove by this defendant.

"In the circumstances most likely in some frustration or even anger.

"The way in which her death arose was clearly not premeditated and could not have been seen from a single push or a grab. And it's the circumstances of this act and this alone that the defendant falls to be sentenced."

Five Metropolitan Police officers are being investigated over their handling of assault allegations made by Miss Makunova against Dada in the months before her death.

The police watchdog inquiry was made public after Dada admitted manslaughter earlier this month at the same court.

Miss Makunova made five police allegations against Dada of assault and harassment between February and June, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said.