An unregistered beautician accused of killing a woman in a failed buttock enlargement procedure in New York is to be extradited to stand trial in the US, a judge has ruled.
Donna Francis, a mother-of-one from Essex, is wanted for allegedly injecting liquid silicone into Kelly Mayhew’s bottom in the basement of her house in Queens, New York, in May 2015.
Announcing his decision, district judge Robin McPhee told Westminster Magistrates’ Court the severity of the offence meant the UK should honour the extradition treaty but Home Secretary Sajid Javid will have the final say.
Ms Mayhew, a 34 year-old freelance television producer, started “gurgling” and struggling to breathe after receiving six injections in either side of her buttocks, and, despite the efforts of paramedics, was pronounced dead later that evening.
Liquid silicone, which stays in the body permanently, caused systemic emboli, fatally restricting Ms Mayhew’s bloodflow to her vital organs.
Francis, 38, who was not licensed to carry out the procedure, left the house after Ms Mayhew died and moved to the UK the following day.
Concerns were raised by her defence team about her mental state, the right she and her five year-old daughter have to a private life and the likely conditions she would face in a US jail.
Judge McPhee said Francis, who was found to be suffering from a non-psychotic moderate to severe depressive episode, will be well cared for as “the prison to which she will go will have mental health facilities”.
US authorities have assured her that, if convicted, Francis will be jailed for no more than one year.
Her daughter will be cared for by her maternal grandmother during the course of any sentence.
The judge said he had weighed up Francis’ mental state and the potential harm to her daughter, but concluded that “in circumstances of serious offending, the public interest in extradition is so high that it outweighs these factors”.
The judgement said Ms Mayhew was accompanied by her mother when the procedure took place in the basement of Francis, who held her hand during the injections.
Her mother then noticed that Kelly was no longer gripping her hand and was gurgling and found that “her eyes were bloodshot and bulging”.
Ms Francis, it found, was “not focused on the young woman who died, but on fleeing the scene and the country the very next day”.
The defendant was arrested in 2017 after a warrant was issued for her in the US.
She was bailed following Thursday’s hearing.