A teenager from Walsall who almost killed his neighbour’s partner in a savage motiveless knife attack has had his sentence slashed by three years – but lost an appeal to clear his name altogether.
Scott Coley, aged 19, was convicted of attempted murder and locked up for 18 years at Shrewsbury Crown Court in November.
But his sentence has now been reduced to 15 years by judges at the Appeal Court in London.
Coley of Hawthorn Road, Shelfield, stabbed David Walton seven times to the head and body, leaving him with life-changing injuries.
After a heavy cannabis session, he dressed in dark clothing, put on a balaclava and crept into his neighbour’s house just after midnight on July 31, 2011.
Armed with a “Rambo-style” knife, he then stabbed Mr Walton numerous times before the victim was able to fight him off and throw him down the stairs.
Mr Walton only survived thanks to the actions of a neighbour and paramedics who were quickly on the scene.
Coley said he remembered going to bed, then waking at the door of his neighbour’s bedroom before blacking out again. He said he had no memory of the attack.
Psychiatrists said Coley probably suffered a cannabis-induced ‘psychotic episode’ and may have been acting out the role of a character in a violent video game he had played.
At the trial, his lawyers argued that he should be able to rely on the defences of ‘insanity’ and ‘automatism’, because his actions may have been completely involuntary.
But Judge Robin Onions said Coley had put himself in that state voluntarily by smoking the strong cannabis and at least in part knew what he was doing.
At the appeal hearing, Coley’s lawyers argued that the conviction was ‘unsafe’.
Lord Justice Hughes rejected the argument saying the judge was correct to find Coley’s case was one of “voluntary intoxication”.
He said Coley’s young age still had to be taken into account, and added: “We are persuaded that a term of 18 years did not in the end make sufficient adjustment for the youth and otherwise impeccable character of the defendant.
“A sentence approaching 20 years custody is a very long one indeed for a young man of 17-18 and will find him a much different person by the time it is over. We think that the appropriate sentence for this young man for the appalling offence he committed is one of 15 years.”