A MAN who acted as a getaway driver for a savage gang which brought “mayhem” to a village pub in a Samurai sword attack has had his “unduly lenient” sentence doubled by top judges.
Michael Metcalfe, 25, of West View Road, Hartlepool, was locked up for three and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court in August for his part in a raid last April.
Metcalfe was joined by Lewis William Jeavons, 21 and Eugene Sweeney, 26, as well as a mob of up to 10 thugs who wore Balaclavas and wielded Samurai swords and baseball bats in the Oddfellows Arms, in Haswell, County Durham.
Jeavons, of of Durham Road, Leadgate, near Consett, was jailed for four years, and Sweeney, of Low Harker, near Carlisle, was given three and a half years after the trio all admitted conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
However, all three jail terms were doubled by senior judges at London’s Appeal Court yesterday after one of the Government’s top law officers objected to the trio’s “unduly lenient” sentences.
Lord Justice Hughes told the court the country pub was holding an 18-year-old’s birthday party in April 2010, and was host to at least 100 punters, when the gang of up to 10 Balaclava-clad men burst in and smashed up the pub.
The judge said the men planned to attack 40-year-old Robert Mawson in what he called a “gang warfare” attack. But, in an attempt to disguise the target of their actions, they beat up other men in the pub as well.
Mr Mawson, who was not attending the birthday party and was in the pub because his wife was the landlady, had his arm cut to the bone with a Samurai sword and was hit over the head with a baseball bat. Another man he was with was also attacked, the court heard.
Mr Mawson, who has since died from leukaemia, and another man survived after they were rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries, and two other patrons of the pub were hurt, the judge said.
Jeavons was described as “hired muscle” who took part in the attack unarmed, Metcalfe acted as driver to the men but did not enter the pub, and Sweeney was the “spotter” who identified Mr Mawson, were arrested some days later, the court heard.
After hearing of the sentences they were given, Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC applied to the Appeal Court to have the terms increased, arguing they were nowhere near tough enough.
His lawyers said the Newcastle judge underestimated the seriousness of the attack and gave the men too much credit for their guilty pleas, which they only tendered three days into their trial.
Lawyers for the three men told judges they played limited roles in the violence, and it would be excessive to sentence them twice for the same offence.
Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, branded the attack “brutal and brazen”, and said it should have been classified as among the most serious of its kind.
He told the court: “This was a planned mob attack, it has nothing in common with a spontaneous act of violence and it seems impossible to contend that those who take part in this kind of combined criminal attack have anything other than high culpabilty.
“They were full party to this attack. Jeavons was one of the invaders; even without carrying a weapon he knew they were there and what they were there for. Metcalfe was a driver and such gangs need drivers. Sweeney was a spotter and gangs also need spotters.”
The judges doubled all three sentences, meaning Jeavons now has an eight-year sentence and Metcalfe and Sweeney both have seven-year terms.
The man who led the police investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, said: “This was an incident which caused a great deal of alarm and distress at the time and we hope local people will take reassurance from the fact those responsible are now facing a long time behind bars.
“This judgment sends out a clear message that we and the Crown Prosecution Service will do all we can to ensure those convicted of serious offences receive a sentence which is appropriate.”