A British beautician jailed for a year for killing a US woman in a botched bum lift “got away with murder”, the victim’s family has said.
And sentencing Donna Francis in New York, the judge said he agreed with the bereaved relatives, arguing they had not received justice.
Queens Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Holder was prevented from imposing a longer sentence under an extradition agreement with the UK, where Francis fled after Kelly Mayhew died.
He told Francis: “I have to say that the phrase ‘getting away with murder’ certainly applies to you.
“What [the family] is not getting, in my opinion, is justice.
“If you have a conscience, this is going to haunt you much longer than the one-year sentence you’re going to serve.”
Francis, 39, who is originally from Loughton, Essex, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide for the 2015 death of Ms Mayhew, after she was extradited from the UK in August.
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Ms Mayhew, a 34 year-old freelance television producer, had travelled to New York from Maryland with her mother to undergo the $1,600 (£1,200) buttock enhancement procedure.
It was there in the basement of a house that Francis, who had no medical licence, injected liquid silicone she had bought on eBay, according to prosecutors.
When Ms Mayhew became distressed and started to struggle to breathe, Francis fled the scene.
A statement read out in court on behalf of Ms Mayhew’s mother, Latrice, said Francis had refused to call the emergency services or give the address.
After leaving the dying woman, Francis skipped the country.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, Ms Mayhew later died of a systemic embolism caused by the silicone entering her bloodstream.
On being sentenced, Francis sobbed and said she regretted what happened.
She said: “I’m sorry for everything. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone. I’m sorry for all the years this has been going on. I’m just sorry.”
Expressing her anger after the hearing, Mrs Mayhew told the New York Post: “If you can sleep on the fact that you just killed someone…then you don’t care. She got away with murder.”
During the hearing, assistant district attorney George DeLuca-Farragia told the judge that Francis was “nothing short of a coward,” who “left Kelly Mayhew dying on a floor, holding her mother’s hand”.
With time served, he said Francis could be free by April.