County Durham samurai gang get jail terms doubled

BEHIND BARS: Michael Metcalfe, Eugene Sweeney, Lewis Jeavons.
BEHIND BARS: Michael Metcalfe, Eugene Sweeney, Lewis Jeavons.
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A GANG who brought mayhem to a village pub as they launched a “brutal and brazen” attack have had their sentences doubled.

Lewis Jeavons, Andrew Metcalfe and Eugene Sweeney were part of a 10-strong group of masked thugs who wielded samurai swords and baseball bats in the brawl at the Oddfellows Arms in Haswell in April last year.

One man suffered a serious head injury and three others needed hospital treatment after the “mayhem” sparked by gang warfare.

The aim was to attack Robert Mawson, but in an attempt to disguise their target the gang also beat up others.

The defendants admitted conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this year.

Jeavons, 21, of Durham Road, Leadgate, was jailed for four years, and Metcalfe, 25, of West View Road, Hartlepool, and traveller Sweeney, 26, of Low Harker near Carlisle, but has links with West Rainton, were given three-and-a-half-years.

Those terms have now been doubled after an appeal by Durham Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service at London’s Appeal Court.

The appeal was launched after the Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC, objected to the “ unduly lenient” sentences.

Lord Justice Hughes said the pub was hosting an 18th birthday party and was packed with at least 100 punters when the gang burst in and smashed up the jukebox, windows and fruit machines.

Mr Mawson, 40, who has since died of leukaemia, was not at the party, but was in the pub because his wife was the landlady.

His arm was cut to the bone and he was struck over the head with a bat.

In court Jeavons was described as “hired muscle” and took part in the attack unarmed, Metcalfe, acted as driver but did not enter the bar and Sweeney was the “spotter” who identified Mr Mawson.

Lawyers leading the appeal said the sentencing judge underestimated the seriousness of the attack and gave the men too much credit for their guilty pleas, offered three-days into their trial.

Barristers for the men said they played limited roles and it would be excessive to sentence them twice for the same offence.

Branding the incident “brutal and brazen” and a “planned mob attack”, Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said it should have been classified as among the most serious of its kind.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, who led the investigation, said: “This judgment sends out a clear message that we and the Crown Prosecution Service will do all we can to ensure those convicted of serious offences receive a sentence which is appropriate.”

Scott Fletcher, from Hartlepool, is charged with the same offence but there is a warrant out for his arrest after he failed to appear at Newcastle Crown Court.