Life sentence upheld for Ilkeston killer

Santino Genovese, jailed for life for the mansalughter of Paul Averill and the attempted murder of Jason Goodacre. Ilkeston.
Santino Genovese, jailed for life for the mansalughter of Paul Averill and the attempted murder of Jason Goodacre. Ilkeston.

A psychotic killer from Derbyshire, serving life for a ‘brutal’ attack on two sleeping men, has failed to convince top judges he needs help, not punishment.

Santino Giovanni Genovese, 24, of Charlotte Street, Ilkeston, admitted the attempted murder of Jason Goodacre and manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility of Paul Averill.

The house on Charlotte Street, Ilkeston, where Paul Averill was stabbed to death by Santino Genovese.

The house on Charlotte Street, Ilkeston, where Paul Averill was stabbed to death by Santino Genovese.

He was jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court on November 4 last year and was ordered to serve at least 13-and-a-half years behind bars before he could even apply for parole.

Because of his ‘psychotic mental illness’ Genovese has been held in hospital but will continue his sentence in prison if his condition improves.

On September 10 2014, 23-year-old Mr Goodacre went to his friend Genovese’s home, where Mr Averill, 30, was a lodger.

Genovese and Mr Goodacre watched a film together which was described as ‘showing extreme violence’, Lord Justice told London’s Appeal Court.

Paul Averill

Paul Averill

Early the next morning, Genovese doubled locked the front door and removed the keys ensuring no one could make ‘an easy escape from what was about to happen’.

He armed himself with an eight-inch knife and stabbed Mr Goodacre - who had fallen asleep on the sofa - nine times and left him for dead.

He then headed upstairs to Mr Averill’s bedroom. He knifed him repeatedly, penetrating his left lung which led to ‘internal bleeding’ and death.

Genovese, who had no previous convictions, had not been diagnosed as having mental health issues at the time but admitted using cannabis.

In one police interview he said it was ‘like he had been possessed’.

Mr Averill’s family described a ‘devastating sense of loss at his death’.

Psychiatric reports revealed that Genovese had a ‘psychotic mental illness’, including an anxiety disorder and long-standing paranoia.

The judge who jailed him said his two victims had been ‘lying defenceless in bed at the time of the attacks’.

Despite Genovese’s mental illness, he said there was an ‘element of culpability’ which needed to be punished.

Locking the door demonstrated a ‘degree of pre-meditation’.

Shaun Smith QC, for Genovese, argued today that he should have been given a hospital order with restrictions rather than the life sentence.

He said that the sentencing judge had ‘over emphasised’ Genovese’s culpability.

He should also have received a bigger reduction for his guilty pleas, added the QC.

A hospital order would mean the decision whether or not to release him would be made by a tribunal which ‘focuses on his mental health’, said Lord Justice Simon.

But, under the life sentence, the Parole Board has no power to release him before his minimum sentence expires.

“These were premeditated attacks carried out with the intention of killing two people,” added the judge.

His crimes were ‘brutal and sustained’ and he had been a ‘heavy user of cannabis’.

Given his history of drug taking, there was a ‘significant risk of relapse’.

It was a ‘difficult sentencing exercise’ but ‘the conclusions the judge drew were proper inferences to draw from the evidence’, said Lord Justice Simon.

The case against Genovese was ‘overwhelming’ and there was ‘no substance’ to claims that he didn’t get enough credit for pleading guilty, he added.

“Accordingly, for these reasons, the appeal is dismissed,” ruled the judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Green and Judge Martyn Zeidman QC.