Jail term cut for ex-soldier who left victim permanently disfigured

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A FORMER soldier jailed after leaving the man he battered at a cashpoint permanently disfigured has had his sentence cut at the Court of Appeal.

Damien Knight, 22, of Wylam Grove, Hendon, punched and kicked Paul Harrison after he barged in front of him at a cash machine near the Centre for Life in Newcastle on Boxing Day in 2012.

Initially jailed for 33 months at Newcastle Crown Court, Knight’s sentence has been cut to 30 months by three senior judges in London.

The court heard Knight, who admitted unlawful wounding, got into an argument when his victim pushed ahead of him at the cashpoint.

Although their friends tried to keep them apart, they continued to row, before Knight threw a punch at the finance officer.

Mr Harrison was knocked unconscious and fell to the ground, where Knight kicked him in the head.

The victim, who could not remember the incident, suffered damage to his cheekbone and eye socket.

He has been left with a drooping eye, which causes him “severe embarrassment”, said appeal judge, Lady Justice Macur.

Lawyers for Knight argued the sentence did not properly reflect the mitigating circumstances and he had shown real remorse for what he did.

He had a good work record and had a job open for him when he is freed.

Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Burton and Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, said the term was too long.

“The appellant is to be given credit for the fact that he told the author of the pre-sentence report that he accepted full responsibility for his actions and in no way attempted to blame the victim for his behaviour,” she said.

“He said he was utterly disgusted with the level of violence he used and felt intense remorse for the ongoing harm he had caused for the complainant.

“In those circumstances, there will be a reduction of sentence and the sentence that will be substituted will be 30 months’ custody.

“This is a young man who serves his first prison sentence and it is to be hoped that his good conduct in prison will lead to consideration of his early release.”