A thug jailed for a vicious attack with a meat cleaver failed to persuade top judges his sentence was too harsh.
Nicholas Stokes, aged 43, received a 13-year sentence at Wolverhampton Crown Court in November last year after admitting two counts of wounding with intent.
Stokes’ victims were Paul Matthews and his amateur boxer stepson, Joshua Reynolds, London’s Appeal Court heard, who each suffered devastating head wounds in the November 2012 assault outside Mr Reynolds’ home.
Stokes was sitting in his car when Mr Matthews emerged from the house in an attempt to calm a situation developing between Reynolds and Stokes’ 19-year-old son, Josh Stokes, explained Judge Francis Gilbert QC.
Josh Stokes responded by knocking Mr Matthews to the ground, the court heard, and when Mr Reynolds came out to help his step-father, Stokes leapt out of the car and lashed out with a ‘machete or butcher’s cleaver’”.
He struck Mr Reynolds across the face with the weapon – ‘causing truly horrendous facial injuries’.
Seconds later, as Mr Matthews struggled to get back inside the house, Stokes struck him on the head with the fearsome weapon.
Both victims suffered grave and lasting injuries in the assault, said Judge Gilbert. Mr Matthews sustained skull fractures and was also battered while on the ground.
Stokes, of Hydes Road, West Bromwich, challenged his sentence today, with claims that insufficient credit was given for his guilty pleas.
He had lashed out to defend his son Josh, a former junior Amateur Boxing Association champion, his lawyers claimed.
His barrister, Philip Bown, told the court that he was guilty of a ‘reactive offence’, which was ‘not premeditated’.
However, Judge Gilbert, sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Mr Justice Silber, concluded that the total sentence was fair – with full account taken of Stokes’ admission of guilt.
“The sentence was not manifestly excessive. The appeal against sentence is dismissed,” the judge concluded.