Jailed thugs lose sentence appeal
5:30am Thursday 5th December 2013 in Latest News
Two Swindon men who were jailed for their part in a “horrific” break-in during which a man’s house was completely wrecked by bat-wielding thugs today lost appeals against their sentences.
Leon Morgan, 21, and Mathew Alfonso, 25, were part of a gang-of-four who raided George Price’s home in Speedwell Close, Haydon Wick, in February and smashed almost everything of value.
In May, Morgan, of Cricklade Road, was jailed for six years and nine months, and Alfonso, of Whitbourne Avenue, for five years and four months, having each admitted aggravated burglary at Swindon Crown Court.
The ringleader, Craig Knowles, 23, was also jailed for six years and nine months, while a 16-year-old boy who was also involved was dealt with by a youth court.
Both Morgan and Alfonso appealed against their sentences yesterday, arguing they were too harshly punished, but saw their cases thrown out by top judges.
The court heard Knowles had had a feud with Mr Price, having accused him of owing money for a dog, and took the law into his own hands in February.
He recruited Morgan, who in turn recruited Alfonso, and the three drove with weapons in a car to Mr Price’s home, intending to give him a good beating.
Mr Price was not at home and instead the gang began smashing everything in sight, terrifying Mr Price’s girlfriend, who was present with a friend.
Two members of the gang were recognised and a neighbour noted their registration number and they were stopped by police soon afterwards.
On appeal today, barrister Anthony Bignall, argued that the sentences were too tough and that not enough distinction had been made between them and Knowles, the “ringleader”.
“It was Mr Knowles’ quarrel with Mr Price, it was Mr Knowles who took the car, it was he who fitted it out with the weapons and he was the one who appeared to have done all the planning,” he said.
But giving judgment, Mr Justice Holroyde, who heard the appeal in London with Lord Justice Jackson and Judge John Milford QC, rejected the arguments and upheld the sentences.
“This attack by four men with weapons caused extensive damage in the presence of two young women,” said the judge.
“In simple terms, the offenders did as much damage as they could and smashed every item of apparent value.
“There was a significant element of planning. Although that planning was not lengthy in time and was far from sophisticated, it involved the assembling of a team of four, the obtaining of a car and equipping with weapons.”
The appeal was dismissed.
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