Custard tin attacker’s 10-year prison sentence cut on appeal

A MAN who used a tin of custard to knock his victim out cold when he answered his front door had his sentence cut by top judges.

Sam Michael Harrison, 24, was jailed for 10 years at Cambridge Crown Court after he was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent last June in relation to the January 2011 attack on Stuart Newton.

Harrison, of Aspen Green, Huntingdon, attacked Mr Newton with a custard tin wrapped in a sock, London’s Appeal Court heard last week.

He rang on Mr Newton’s front door early in the morning, greeting him with a shout when Mr Newton opened up. Harrison then lashed out with the loaded sock, said Mr Justice Wyn Williams, knocking Mr Newton out with a blow to the head.

The single blow fractured Mr Newton’s skull and caused bleeding on the brain. He spent three days in hospital, followed by two weeks of home observation. Doctors used 15 staples to repair the gash in the back of his head, which have left him with a nine-inch scar stretching from behind his right ear.

The appeal court heard there was bad blood between the two men due to a heated row the previous night which resulted in the police being called.

Harrison had been placed in a cell at the police station to “allow him to sober up”, but when released in the morning told the custody sergeant he “would soon be back”.

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Mr Newton had made a good physical recovery, but was badly affected by the psychological impact of the attack, the court heard.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams, sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Akenhead, said there was evidence of remorse by Harrison, and that the sentencing judge had imposed a punishment “at the top end of the range”.

He substituted a nine-year term, adding that this would make a significant difference “for a man of his comparative youth”.

The ruling means Harrison will serve four and a half years behind bars before qualifying for automatic release.