Stalker’s jail term is slashed

Jailed: George Chereni
Jailed: George Chereni

A stalker who drove his car at a terrified young couple walking home after celebrating New Year, has had his jail term slashed on appeal.

George Chereni followed the pair in his car before heading straight towards them at speed in an “extremely disturbing” incident.

The 40-year-old then wielded a metal bar at a passing off-duty police officer who saw what happened and went to help the victims.

Chereni, of Kendal Road, Ince, was jailed for six years at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting dangerous driving, threatening with a weapon and attempted unlawful wounding.

But his sentence was cut to five years and three months by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original term was “too long”.

The court heard Megan Cohen and Aaron Roper were walking home at about 5am on January 1 after celebrating the New Year in Wigan.

Chereni, who was driving a Renault Megane, pulled up beside them.

When they realised they didn’t know him, they carried on walking but he followed them before driving forwards and stopping in front of them.

He wound his window down and they asked him to leave them alone, but he just smiled at them.

When Miss Cohen asked why he was following them, he said because he found her attractive.

The pair ran away from him and called the police, but he continued to follow them.

He then drove straight at them, mounting the pavement.

Miss Cohen realised he wasn’t going to stop and jumped out of the way behind a lamp post.

But he hit Mr Roper, who went over the bonnet and roof of the car and landed on the ground as it crashed into the lamp post.

Chereni then got out of the car and grabbed hold of a metal bar, which he wielded at the young couple.

They managed to escape, but an-off duty police woman who was passing and went to help the couple feared he was going to assault her with it.

He told her they had tried to kill him and then ran off.

Although no-one suffered any physical injuries, despite Mr Roper being thrown over the car, the incident left them badly shaken and Miss Cohen had to have treatment for anxiety.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the incident was serious and justified the highest possible sentence for such a case.

But, reducing the sentence, he said the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of Chereni’s admissions of guilt.

Sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Sir Alistair MacDuff, he added: “Although we consider that the circumstances of this case warranted the maximum sentence available for this piece of driving, the appellant was entitled to a discount for his guilty pleas.”