Killer’s indefinite jail term upheld

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A TEENAGER jailed for killing a Leigh dad-of-five with a single punch will stay behind bars indefinitely after losing a Court of Appeal challenge to his sentence.

Jake Roberts, 17, of George Road, Erdington, Birmingham, lashed out at 45-year-old Stephen Garvey as the older man tried to comfort a crying teenage girl in Leigh town centre last February.

Only a matter of months earlier, the young thug had left an 18-year-old youth in a coma after a brutal assault in a street in Dudley, West Midlands.

In June, following guilty pleas to manslaughter and wounding with intent to cause GBH, he was sentenced to indefinite detention for public protection.

Yesterday he challenged the open-ended DPP sentence – and the four years he must serve before even applying for release – but had his case rejected by senior judges.

Lord Justice Pill, sitting in London with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Parker, said the crown court judge was entitled to consider Roberts a serious public danger.

Roberts had been to see Wigan Athletic play Manchester United earlier that day and set upon Mr Garvey in Henry Street, Leigh, in the early hours of the morning. At the time, he was on bail for attacking 18-year-old Freddie Mulunga, who was found with multiple injuries in Dudley, in October 2010.

Roberts admitted to his girlfriend that he had kicked, punched and stamped on Freddie. His own mother had then reported him to police.

After admitting the crimes, he was assessed by a probation officer and said to be a “high” risk of re-offending and causing serious harm to others.

The crown court judge agreed Roberts was “dangerous” and said he would have to be locked up until he can convince the Parole Board he is no longer a public danger.

Roberts argued yesterday that the sentence, from which he might never be released, was “manifestly excessive” and he should get a term with an automatic release date.

But rejecting his complaint, Lord Justice Pill said: “We agree with the sentencing judge as to the seriousness of the offences, the finding of dangerousness and the minimum sentence imposed.”

Roberts will only be freed after serving his four-year minimum term if the Parole Board is satisfied that he is no longer a risk of serious harm to the public.