Robber fails in bid to reduce 16-year term
Man, 54, in gang armed with pitchfork, machete
A ROBBER jailed for a heist in which a security guard was terrorised with a pitchfork has had an appeal to reduce his sentence thrown out by a judge.
Stephen Phillips, 54, of Oxford Road, Gerrards Cross, was jailed for 16-and-a-half years for his part in a series of raids on cash-intransit staff across west London.
The gang struck in 2010, using an iron bar, machete, a baton and a pitchfork.
They targeted The Pavilions Shopping Centre, in High Street, Uxbridge; Tesco, in Glencoe Road, Hayes; Marks & Spencer, in Sunbury Cross; and Waitrose in Ruislip.
Phillips was joined by accomplices George French, 61, of Rowan Road, West Drayton and Anthony Durham, also 61, of Princes Avenue, Petts Wood.
French was not involved in the Waitrose raid and successfully had his sentence cut from 15 to 13-and-a-half years on appeal.
Durham was jailed for 17 years and also had an appeal against his sentence rejected.
Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mrs Justice Lang and Judge John Bevan QC at London’s Appeal Court, said the trio claimed they had been ‘fitted up’ by the police, and their legal team argued the trial judge failed to pinpoint key flaws in the prosecution case.
The sentences were undoubtedly severe but, after considering the arguments put to us, we are not persuaded there is an arguable case that
the sentences were excessive”
But he said the trial judge had presented the case fairly and comprehensively, adding: “We are not persuaded that any greater detail or emphasis from the judge was required.
“We are not persuaded there is an arguable case fit to be considered by the full Appeal Court.”
The judge dismissed the sentence appeals from Phillips and Durham, saying: “The sentences were undoubtedly severe but, after considering the arguments put to us, we are not persuaded there is an arguable case that the sentences were excessive.”
Both Phillips and Durham have previous convictions dating back to 1995, concerning a raid on one of the same shops targeted in this case.
The appeal judge added that French was more than a mere getaway driver, having been involved in reconnoitring and ‘procuring vehicles’.