PERTH, Australia (AP) — An 86-year old man who faced four trials over the death of a Scottish woman more than two decades ago was sentenced on Wednesday to more than six years in jail.
Ronald Leslie Pennington was found guilty in July of killing Cariad Anderson-Slater in 1992. Anderson-Slater, an acquaintance of Pennington's who had emigrated to Australia from Scotland, was last seen going into the Perth home Pennington lived in at the time. She then vanished, and her fate remained unknown until her remains were uncovered in 2011 by workers digging up the house's backyard. A cause of death has never been determined, and Pennington has always denied killing her
Pennington was originally charged with murder, but was found guilty in 2012 of the lesser offense of manslaughter and sentenced to more than eight years in jail. He successfully appealed his conviction and a new trial was ordered. The jury in the second trial could not reach a verdict, and a third trial was aborted because a juror violated the judge's directions. In July, he was convicted of manslaughter.
Pennington's lawyer, Simon Freitag, had argued that his client should be given a suspended sentence because of his age and poor health.
At Pennington's sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Supreme Court of Western Australia Justice Michael Corboy said he accepted that because Pennington's mobility was compromised, his jail term would be more difficult than younger prisoners. Corboy also noted that Pennington could die in jail.
The judge sentenced him to six-and-a-half years in jail. He will be eligible for parole in April 2017.
Outside court, Freitag said Pennington plans to appeal.