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Killer who shot partner in head jailed for at least 32 years

A man who shot his partner in the forehead with a handgun and then rang 999 claiming she had hurt herself by running into a pool cue has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years.

Richard Basson, 45, used one of the three illegal firearms he held to shoot Carrie Slater, 37, at their home in Long Clawson, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

Basson dialled 999 shortly before 6.45pm on September 21 last year, as his partner sat injured nearby.

He said the pair had an argument “over half a cigarette” and claimed to have stabbed Ms Slater in the face with a pool cue after she came at him with a carving knife, Leicester Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

Richard Basson court case
Carrie Slater was murdered (Leicestershire Police/PA)

He told the operators he believed a metal band from the cue was stuck under his partner’s scalp and, when emergency services attended, they found Ms Slater in a bedroom with a significant injury to the front of her head.

Leicestershire Police said that when she was receiving treatment, Basson stayed outside the bungalow, behaving in an “erratic” manner and refusing to co-operate with officers.

He did, however, admit he was responsible for causing her injuries and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

On arrival at hospital, scans on Ms Slater revealed her injury was in fact a gunshot wound and the bullet which killed her was later recovered by a Home Office pathologist.

She was placed on life support but two days later, on September 23, it was withdrawn and Ms Slater was pronounced dead by doctors.

Following Basson’s arrest, police conducted a routine search of the couple’s bungalow and found a self-loading pistol and four rounds of ammunition – two live and two spent – in the back garden.

A bullet head was also discovered in a bedroom, bearing traces of plaster and paint indistinguishable from the material around a bullet hole in the hallway.

The trial heard Basson had a total of 68 rounds of live ammunition at the property.

Basson and Ms Slater had an on-off relationship for a number of years and he had previously been violent towards her, the court heard.

On Tuesday, Basson was convicted of one count of murder at Leicester Crown Court and, on Wednesday, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 32 years.

He was also sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm at a previous court hearing and 30 months after entering the same plea for possession of ammunition without a certificate.

Basson will serve these sentences concurrently.

Judge Martin Spencer told the court on Wednesday that the defendant had fired two shots at Ms Slater. The first missed and the second hit her in the head, leaving her with “devastating brain damage”.

Speaking to Basson, Judge Spencer said: “I have no doubt the moment you shot Carrie you intended to kill her.

“You then spun a web of lies and deceit to the emergency services and police.

“You misled them and could have jeopardised getting Carrie the help she needed. The services in fact got to her as quickly as they could, but you were not to know that at the time.

“You put your own interests ahead of hers.”

The family of Carrie Slater issued a statement to Leicestershire Police which said: “There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t think of Carrie – our beloved daughter, sister and auntie.

“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.”