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23 May 2014, 14:22
A university lecturer who helped her boyfriend and two others in their bid to escape after they murdered a rival drug dealer in Southampton has had her sentence increased by two years.
Three Court of Appeal judges in London ruled that the three-and-a-half years being served by Rachel Kenehan, 35, who also helped to supply drugs, was "unduly lenient''.
Kenehan, who taught sociology and psychology at the London Metropolitan University and was studying for a PhD in criminology, was present in the dock of the court for today's ruling by Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Holroyde.
She was originally sentenced at Winchester Crown Court in March after being convicted of offences of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.
The court heard how she had become "infatuated'' with Pierre Lewis after meeting him through a prisoner mentoring scheme.
Over a three-and-a-half week period from March 19 last year, Kenehan helped Lewis and two others to supply cocaine and heroin to drug addicts in Southampton.
She assisted Lewis, Jemmikai Orlebar-Forbes and Isaac Boateng after 23-year-old Jahmel Jones was shot dead in Southampton on April 20 last year - all three are now serving life sentences.
Shortly after the murder Lewis called Kenehan and she collected the three men from Basingstoke, drove them to London and allowed them to stay in her home for the following four days.
Kenehan, of Hewlett Road, Bow, east London, also tried to eradicate any potential scientific evidence on a pair of Lewis' trainers by cleaning them with white spirit.
Increasing the sentence, Lady Justice Rafferty said that on the one hand Kenehan was a "highly educated achiever with an instinct to give back to society'', but she had been involved in a "wicked'' attempt to pervert the course of justice "set against a background of class A drugs''.
She "went to considerable trouble as she put in place a developing plan to keep her lover clear of the due process of law''.
At the Crown Court Kenehan was jailed for a total of three years for the drugs offences. Lady Justice Rafferty said that the consecutive six months originally imposed for the offences of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice did not adequately reflect the "gravity'' of her offending.
After the hearing Solicitor General Oliver Heald, who referred the sentence to the appeal court for review, welcomed the decision of the judges to increase it.
He said: "Rachel Kenehan made a decision to become involved in a violent criminal gang and her crimes included drug dealing as well as assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.
"These are serious crimes and ones which I felt were not reflected in the three-and-a-half year sentence she received.
"I asked the Court of Appeal to look at this sentence and I am pleased that they have increased it to five-and-a-half years. I hope this renewed sentence offers a degree of comfort and public assurance''