'Our hearts are full of pain and our lives feel empty'

Carrie Slater, who was murdered by her partner in September 2023Carrie Slater, who was murdered by her partner in September 2023
Carrie Slater, who was murdered by her partner in September 2023
Richard Basson was this afternoon (Wednesday) jailed for life – with a minimum term of 32 years – for murdering his partner, Carrie Slater, at their Long Clawson home.

We reported yesterday that a Leicester Crown Court jury had found 45-year-old Basson guilty of the crime of shooting her in the head at the property in King’s Road in September last year and he was brought back to the court today to be sentenced.

He was wearing two blue hoodies and grey jogging trousers as he entered the dock, looking vacant and staring straight ahead.

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Victim impact statements were read out from Carrie’s half-sisters Claire Slater and Louanne Leonardi – Claire wrote: “Our hearts are full of pain, and our lives feel empty.”

Richard Basson, jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 yearsRichard Basson, jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years
Richard Basson, jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years

Basson had initially claimed that he had stabbed Carrie in the face with a pool cue after he said she had threatened him with a carving knife during an argument over half a cigarette.

But later hospital scans revealed she had a bullet wound in her head.

Judge Justice Martin Speed told Basson that there were four aggravating factors, that would extend his minimum sentence.

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These included shooting Carrie in her home which was ‘somewhere she should have felt safe’, a background of domestic abuse, disposing of evidence including attempting to retrieve the bullet and hiding the firearm in the garden.

Carrie Slater and the murder scene at Long ClawsonCarrie Slater and the murder scene at Long Clawson
Carrie Slater and the murder scene at Long Clawson

The judge continued: “You misled them (the emergency services) as to the serious nature of her injuries, and could have prevented her getting the help she needed.

"Nothing could have been done to help her - but you didn’t know that at the time.”

The hearing was told that Carrie was killed when Basson fired one of his three illegally-owned firearms at her – it caused her an unsurvivable brain injury.

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The defendant had claimed at trial that when he made a 999 call to emergency services – with Carrie laying gravely injured – he didn’t tell them he’d fired a pistol, because he thought that would prevent an ambulance crew from coming into the property.

Basson’s defence counsel, Christopher Donnellan KC, had rejected claims during the trial that he had concocted the story to obscure his own guilt.

Arguing for a lengthy custodial sentence, prosection barrister, John Lloyd-Jones KC, highlighted the defendant’s previous criminal convictions as aggravating factors in this case.

After sentence was passed today, Carrie’s family released the following moving statement: “There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t think of Carrie – our beloved daughter, sister and auntie.

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“We can’t put into words how we’re feeling and we’re still grieving for her.

"We’re pleased justice has been done and as a family, we can start to heal.

“We are grateful to the support we’ve received from friends and loved ones since Carrie was taken from us, but we know that nothing we say or do will bring her back.”

Basson will have to serve 32 years in prison, with a deduction of 184 days which he has served on remand, before he can be considered for release by the parole board.