Murder teenager has sentence slashed

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A teenager involved in the murder of a man who was kicked to death outside a shop has had his sentence slashed by top judges on appeal.

Joe Chapman was just 15 when he and another youth attacked 46-year-old Chris Poole, who died later in hospital.

The now 16-year-old, formerly of Iden Street, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least eight years behind bars at Lewes Crown Court in March, after being found guilty of murder. But his minimum tariff was cut by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original term was ‘excessive’.

Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice Supperstone, reduced the term to five years.

The judges dismissed a challenge to his murder conviction, also throwing out an appeal by his accomplice, 20-year-old Shane Noble, of no fixed address.

Mr Poole was attacked after getting into a row with a group of teenagers, including Chapman and Noble, outside the Premier convenience store in Hydneye, in August last year. He was taken to hospital following the attack, during which he was kicked in the head, but died the following day.

Although it was not known exactly who had dealt the fatal blow, both youths were convicted of murder on the basis of joint enterprise.

Their lawyers challenged their convictions, but they were upheld as safe by the Appeal Court judges. However, allowing Chapman’s sentence appeal, Lord Justice Elias ruled the minimum term set by the crown court judge was too long.

After serving his five-year minimum term, Chapman’s case will be reviewed by the Parole Board who will have the power to free him if satisfied that he poses no serious danger to society.