Judges decline to cut sentence of man who 'ambushed' attack victim as he smoked

The case of Samuel Leigh Barnes was first heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case of Samuel Leigh Barnes was first heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

A jealous Sunderland thug who battered a former pal senseless had his tough sentence backed by senior judges today.

Samuel Leigh Barnes, 26, laid into his victim who he suspected had asked his ex-girlfriend to “sit on his knee”.

He “ambushed” the man as he smoked a cigarette, trapping him in a headlock before felling him to the ground.

“While on the ground, Barnes punched him four or five times, and kicked him a couple of times to the face,” Lord Justice Irwin told London's Appeal Court.

“His motive was jealousy,” added the judge, who was sitting with Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb and Judge Nicholas Dean QC.

The victim, who denied Barnes had any reason to be jealous, suffered flashbacks, nightmares and trauma after the attack.

His injuries also resulted in “weakness in the bone structure of his face”, said the judge.

Barnes, of Kettering Square, Downhill, was jailed for 37 months at Newcastle Crown Court in July after he admitted unlawful wounding.

But his case reached the Appeal Court today as he challenged his sentence, claiming it was far too tough.

Barnes had a history of previous offences - including an unprovoked attack on a pensioner in 2015, the court heard.

He had assaulted a kindly 70-year-old motorist who “came to his aid” on the highway.

Dismissing Barnes's appeal, Lord Justice Irwin said: "Viewing the totality of the overall sentence, we consider it was appropriate.”