'Lenient' sentences of Northampton teenager's killers will not be increased, court of appeal rules
Four young men jailed for their parts in the killing of a Northampton teenager today escaped having their sentences increased.
The men were jailed at the town's crown court in June for their various roles in an incident in which 17-year-old Liam Hunt was stabbed to death.
Kane Allaban-Hamilton was jailed for murder, but the four others were sentenced for the lesser offence of manslaughter.
The quartet had joined in a hunt for revenge against Liam, but did not stab him or intend serious harm, judges said.
They received sentences ranging from three years and two months to eight-and-a-half years, but could today have had them increased in London.
Lawyers for solicitor general, Robert Buckland QC, argued that the sentences were "unduly lenient" for what they did.
But despite agreeing that the terms were "lenient", three top judges decided not to increase them.
Lord Justice Simon said the crown court judge was better placed to assess the sentences, as he had sat through the three-month trial.
"These sentences were lenient, but we don't regard them as unduly lenient such as to require the intervention of this court," he said.
The court heard the tragic fight arose out of bad blood between Liam and another young man in Northampton.
A group of youths - including Allaban-Hamilton, Aaron Connor Joseph, 21, Derice William Wright, 19, and William Ransford and Lee Warren, both 18, - joined in a quest for "revenge", said the judge.
A violent confrontation erupted in St George's Street on the afternoon of February 14 last year, during which punches were thrown and weapons brandished.
While he was distracted, Liam was approached by Allaban-Hamilton and stabbed in the neck, causing a fatal injury.
The other four were sentenced for manslaughter, because they had not intended that Liam would be seriously hurt in the incident.
In a reference to the court, Mr Buckland's lawyers argued that they had got off too lightly for their roles in the confrontation.
Joseph, of Hylands Road, Walthamstow, London, got eight-and-a-half years, and Warren, of no fixed address, got four years and ten months, with another nine months on top for perverting the course of justice.
Ransford and Wright, both of Lutterworth Road, Northampton, got four years and four months and three years and two months, respectively.
The appeal judge, sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Warby, said the terms could have been longer, but were not too short.
The sentences were upheld.