Attacker’s sentence increased to 13 years

A MAN who violently attacked a drug dealer has seen his jail sentence almost doubled by a top judge.

Keith Anthony Jenkins, 29, of Coronation Road, Wingate, was jailed for seven years after leaving his victim - a cocaine dealer - with numerous shattered facial bones following an attack in his victim’s home on July 2 last year.

He was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent at Durham Crown Court.

But that sentence was viewed as nowhere near tough enough by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, who referred it to the Court of Appeal to be looked at again.

Lord Justice Toulson, sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Judge Anthony Morris QC, ruled that the sentence was too short - and upped it to 13 years.

The judge said that a particularly serious feature was that Jenkins had told police when arrested, “that’s what happens to drug dealers”.

He had boasted that he would be released without charge because his victim was a criminal and would not make a statement to the police.

The judge said wraps of cocaine were found on the injured man, and he did in fact not want to make a statement, but the CPS had enough evidence to prosecute Jenkins anyway.

In his judgement, Lord Justice Toulson said: “The courts are no friend of the drug dealer.

“However, for an offender to think that a particular type of victim, however vile his trade may be, is beneath the protection of the law from serious assault is an idea that the courts must make plain is totally unacceptable.

“It was a serious aggravating feature that the offender carried out this offence believing himself to be immune in practical terms from prosecution because the victim would not, in his estimation, be likely to make statement to the police.

“We quash the sentence of seven years and substitute a sentence of 13 years imprisonment,” the judge concluded.