A Lincolnshire man who was jailed for killing a friend with a mountaineer’s ice axe yesterday saw his sentence cut by top judges at the Court of Appeal.
Jamie Patrick Rawson, 22, admitted the manslaughter of 31-year-old Peter Schruyers, who died five days after he was injured in a fight between the pair.
Last September, he was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court to eight years’ jail for the killing, with another 18 months consecutive for unrelated theft and assault offences.
He appealed yesterday and had his sentence for the manslaughter cut to seven years, giving him a total of eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Mr Justice Keith claimed Rawson, of Alford, should have been given credit for eventually pleading guilty to what he had done.
The Court of Appeal in London heard Rawson and Mr Schruyers had been close friends, but had fallen out after an argument about women.
On August 10, 2011, Mr Schruyers and another man went to see Rawson at a flat where he was visiting friends in Wainfleet Road, Skegness.
Mr Schruyers had a small baseball bat and, after forcing his way into the flat, a fight between the pair began, resulting in him suffering serious injuries.
None of the witnesses admitted seeing Rawson use the ice axe, but Mr Schruyers suffered wounds to his arm, shoulder and head, and died five days later.
Rawson appealed today on the basis that the crown court judge should not have refused to give him any credit at all for pleading guilty to the crime.
Before his trial, he had offered to plead guilty to manslaughter due to loss of control, but the prosecution had refused to accept his basis of plea.
However, he had not actually entered a plea to manslaughter until the trial was stopped and a second was in the offing, the court heard.
Giving judgment, the appeal judge, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice King, said Rawson deserved no credit for his initial offer of a plea, because he had not followed it up by doing so.
But he continued: “What his eventual plea of guilty did mean was that a second trial did not have to take place at all.
“We think that the sentence he received should have been discounted by 12 months. For these reasons, we allow the appeal, we quash the sentence of eight years’ imprisonment and we substitute for it a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.”
The separate 18-month sentence for the assault and theft will continue to run consecutively, leaving Rawson with a total term of eight-and-a-half years.