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Jacko's killer doctor will be free in 2 years

In the end, they threw the book at him. Conrad Murray, the private doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson, was branded a "disgrace to the medical profession" as a court sentenced him to four years in prison.

It was the maximum possible penalty for involuntary manslaughter, the crime of which Murray was found guilty six weeks ago.

Los Angeles Judge Michael Pastor handed it down in a speech last night which saw him complain that the defendant had displayed "absolutely no sense of remorse".

By agreeing to treat Jackson's insomnia with Propofol, a powerful anaesthetic that should never normally be used outside a hospital setting, Murray, who was being paid $150,000 a month (¤112,000) for his services, engaged in "money-for-medicine madness", said Judge Pastor.

He also suggested Murray made an iPhone recording of the heavily-drugged singer so that he could blackmail him if they ever fell out. "That tape recording was Dr Murray's insurance policy," said Judge Pastor.

He said the decision to keep the recording represented an "offensive" violation of medical ethics. The sentencing was held at Los Angeles Superior Court, half an hour's drive from the Holmby Hills mansion where Jackson died.

The 50-year-old singer had been living there during rehearsals for a comeback tour.

Judge Pastor said he was angered by a recent TV documentary, in which the doctor argued that Jackson bore responsibility for his own death.

"Talk about blaming the victim. Not only is there no remorse, there is umbrage and outrage on the part of Murray," he said.

But Murray will not serve four years behind bars.

Because of California's shaky public finances, his sentence will automatically be cut in half and will be served in a county jail, rather than the tougher state prison.

hnews@herald.ie