Attacker’s sentence doubled to four years

A man who attacked a van driver with a Stanley knife on Eastbourne seafront has had his “unduly lenient” jail term doubled by top judges.

Paul Nicholls, 50, deliberately blocked the path of the van driver – with whom he had previous bad blood – and inflicted numerous deep wounds with the knife, some of which cut almost to the bone.

Nicholls, of Chinbrook Road, Catford, South London, was jailed for two years at Lewes Crown Court in October after being convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.

However Edward Garnier QC, the Solicitor General, regarded that sentence as far too short and referred it to be looked at again by judges at London’s Appeal Court.

Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Globe and Mr Justice Leggatt, agreed that Nicholls had been let off too lightly – and doubled his sentence to four years.

The court heard the van driver and a female passenger were confronted by Nicholls as they sat in their stationary vehicle in Channel View Road on January 31.

The attack came through the window of the van and the 36-year-old driver received deep lacerations to his face, arms and hands. Lawyers for Nicholls pleaded with the judges not to up his sentence, saying he had been subjected to “greater than normal provocation” before attacking and his actions had amounted to “excessive self defence.”

Lady Justice Rafferty agreed that there had been some provocation, saying, “Shouts from the victim’s vehicle included not only profanity, but threats.”

However she went on to increase the term, saying, “This sentence was unduly lenient.”