Essex beautician Donna Francis jailed in US over ‘butt lift’ that killed TV producer

“Life lost for money”: Donna Francis sobs in court. Inset right, Kelly Mayhew ( )
“Life lost for money”: Donna Francis sobs in court. Inset right, Kelly Mayhew ( )

A British beautician who killed a TV producer by performing a botched buttock-enhancement procedure on her has been jailed for a year after being extradited to the US.

Donna Francis, originally from Loughton, Essex, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide after Kelly Mayhew died in 2015 from the “butt lift” injections.

Francis was given the maximum sentence allowed in the extradition agreement. New York judge Kenneth Holder told her: “The phrase ‘getting away with murder’ certainly applies to you.

“What [the family] is not getting, in my opinion, is justice. If you have a conscience, this is going to haunt you much longer than the one-year sentence you’re going to serve.”

Francis, 39, who had no medical licence, sobbed as she was sentenced in the Queens Supreme Court yesterday. She said: “It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone. I’m sorry for all the years this has been going on. I’m just sorry.”

Ms Mayhew, 34, died from “systemic silicone emboli” after silicone from the injections entered her bloodstream.

She and her mother Latrice had travelled to New York from Maryland to pay Francis $1,600 (£1,200) for the buttock enhancement procedure.

Prosecutors said Francis injected Ms Mayhew with silicone gel bought from eBay on May 30, 2015, at an illegal plastic surgery clinic in the basement of Francis’s home in Queens, New York.

Acting Queens district attorney John Ryan said Ms Mayhew “went into cardiac arrest” as Francis “pumped a clear liquid substance into the woman’s backside”.

Paramedics found Ms Mayhew lying unresponsive face up at the bottom of the stairs. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Prosecutors said Francis had left the dying woman and her mother, and had fled to London.

She fought extradition proceedings, but was sent back to the US in August after a British judge ruled that the severity of the crime meant the mother-of-one had to stand trial.

The extradition order also stated that she serve her sentence in Suffolk County, Long Island, rather than the notorious Rikers Island detention facility.

Ms Mayhew’s brother Richard Lane read a statement on behalf of their mother in court, saying Francis had refused to call 911 or provide an address to give the emergency services.

“Kelly’s last words to my mother were, ‘Mommy, hold my hand.’” Speaking after the hearing, Mr Lane said his sister “died for greed. A life lost for money”.

His mother added: “Just to see her, standing before a judge and say ‘I’m sorry’. She’s not sorry; she’s sorry she got caught. If you can sleep on the fact that you just killed someone ... then you don’t care. She got away with murder.”

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