A killer of a pub landlord who was bludgeoned to death in his own home has failed to convince top judges that he deserves a cut in his sentence – nine years after he was jailed.
Lee Michael Worgan, 34, was jailed for life at Stafford Crown Court in November 2004 after a jury convicted him and two accomplices of murdering 59-year-old Mr Hughes, who was the much-loved landlord of the Royal Oak, in Pelsall.
He was battered to death with a crowbar after the raiders broke into his sleeping quarters in the early hours of April 27 2003.
The trio ripped out a safe containing the pub’s takings, before unleashing a ‘savage and sustained attack’ on their lone victim. “He was entirely innocent and had offered no provocation,” Lord Justice McCombe told London’s Appeal Court yesterday.
Worgan, of Blakenhall Lane, Walsall, challenged his 20-year minimum term – the least number of years he must serve before the Parole Board will even consider him for release.
He claimed insufficient account was taken of the lack of premeditation and that the crowbar – with which Mr Hughes was struck eight times by one of the raiders – had been taken to the scene ‘to force the safe, not to commit murder’.
But Lord Justice McCombe, sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Mrs Justice Patterson, said Mr Hughes had died after a violent struggle in which he received appalling wounds and ‘defensive blows’.
“It is unarguable that the minimum term was manifestly excessive,” the judge concluded.
The original trial heard Mr Hughes died from a fractured skull after he was beaten at least eight times on the head with a crowbar.
Bloodstains in the bedroom showed Mr Hughes was in bed when the first blow was struck.