Trigger warning: contains descriptions and images of kidnapping and violence
Angel Lynn, 19, was left paralysed after being kidnapped by her abusive boyfriend in September 2020.
CCTV footage shows Lynn being kidnapped on the street and thrown into a van in Leicestershire by then boyfriend Chay Bowskill following an argument. She was later found lying in the carriageway of the A6 motorway after having fallen out of the vehicle while it was travelling at 60mph.
She was left with severe head and brain injuries and now 21, is unable to walk, talk or feed herself and receiving 24-hour specialist care in a rehabilitation centre.
Chay Bowskill was found guilty of kidnap, controlling and coercive behaviour and perverting the course of justice at Leicester Crown Court in January this year, and was sentenced to just seven and a half years in prison. It was also reported that he would only have to serve half of his sentence, given the time already served on remand.
The 'lenient' sentencing was heavily contested, with calls for the sentence to be doubled.
Among them was the family of Angel Lynn, with her aunt Jackie Chamberlain telling Sky News: "Those sentences should be doubled, that's what she should do because we have been given a life sentence, as a family, Nikki has been given a life sentence and, moreover, Angel has been given a life sentence."
The case went before the Court of Appeals today and Bowskill's sentence was increased to 16 years and three months by the residing senior judges.
“We have concluded that the sentence passed on him for the kidnap was unduly lenient," announced Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen's Bench Division. She went on to explain that the original sentence "failed to reflect the seriousness of the kidnap” and than too much lenience had been given due to Bowskill's age.
"Miss Lynn is likely to be severely disabled, mentally and physically, for the rest of her life, and will be dependent on others for all aspects of her care," she continued.
Speaking to BBC Radio Leicester after the ruling, Jackie Chamberlain confirmed that the family had got "exactly what [they] wanted".
"We're absolutely elated at the result and we want to thank everybody involved, from the police to the judges today, the lady judge in charge, she's amazing. We really felt she got us as a family."
She continued: "We can rest in the fact and know [Bowskill] will not be anywhere near us for a very long time. We want to thank every person that complained about the sentence being unduly lenient. It gladdens your heart, it's amazing."
"Lenient sentences in domestic abuse cases send a dangerous message - both to perpetrators and survivors of domestic abuse - about how seriously we treat violence against women in this country," explained Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women's Aid as she welcomed the result.
"It is clear that better understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control will bring about improved sentencing in the future, which will ultimately lead to keeping more women safe.
"To prioritise the safety of women and girls, judges must send out a clear message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated."
Nikki Lynn, Angel's mother, shared an update on her daughter's condition following the sentencing, revealing that while she is still in a care facility, she has made improvements.
"She has learnt how to squeeze our hands when we ask her questions," she explained. "When we asked her if she wanted to come home, I can’t tell you how hard she squeezed. We want her home as soon as possible because it’s where she wants to be. We’re hoping it will stimulate her more and help her recovery but we need to raise the funds to get her here.”
Our thoughts are with Angel Lynn's family.
Visit the family's GoFundMe page for more information on donating to Angel Lynn and supporting her recovery.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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