Brute Brendan Rowan-Davies was convicted of murdering Kelly-Anne Case, 27, at her home in Grange Crescent, Gosport, and then setting two fires in a bid to cover his tracks.
Earlier this year the 29-year-old was handed a life term with a minimum of 30 years after the judge ruled the killing was sadistic.
Winchester Crown Court heard how 6ft 3in Rowan-Davies had returned to 5ft 1in Ms Case’s home on July 30 last year at around 7.46am to carry out the attack – binding her wrists with cable ties.
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He had been there, then invited, in the early hours of the same morning with a friend.
Rowan-Davies, who has an IQ of between 55 and mid-60s, denied killing the mum-of-three. He is not appealing the conviction for murder and arson.
His appeal centres on the trial judge’s finding the murder was sadistic.
Such killings see a starting sentence of 30 years when a judge has ruled – to the criminal standard of proof of being ‘sure’ – that the murder was sadistic. This is opposed to the civil standard of ‘more likely’, which cannot be used to make the finding.
Sentencing in February, Mr Justice Garnham told the killer: ‘Either you obtained pleasure from inflicting wounds on Ms Case before you went on to kill her, in which case it was sadistic in motivation, or you inflicted pain to persuade her to have sex with you and killed her when she refused.
‘The former is more likely and what I find occurred.’
Howard Barrington-Clark, whose Cosham-based firm Wessex Solicitors represented Rowan-Davies, said: ‘The jury says whether someone is guilty of murder.
‘The judge decides is it of a sadistic or sexual nature, and there the judge has to be satisfied to the criminal standard of proof.
‘Here in this case the judge said yes it’s sadistic or sexual, and said it’s “more likely” that it was sadistic – therefore 30 years.
‘Him saying “more likely” is way below the criminal standard of proof.’
The Court of Appeal confirmed the case was lodged and is being prepared but is yet to be looked at by a senior judge who will decide if the appeal can proceed to a full hearing.
No date has yet been set.
Rowan-Davies, of Trinity Close, Gosport, was caught on CCTV travelling by bus to and from the murder. Firefighters made the grisly discovery of Ms Case’s body.
During a 16-day trial jurors heard how Ms Case was found by firefighters with her wrists bound by cable ties, naked on the edge of her stripped bedding, which had been taken downstairs and set on fire.