Serving prisoner jailed for longer

An inmate who attacked a fellow prisoner has had his sentence increased following intervention by the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP.

Abdi Esa, 21, who was already serving 3 years and 7 months’ detention for possession of a knife in a public place and wounding with intent, attacked fellow prisoner John Smith, 26, on 5 December 2020.

Esa approached his victim from behind and punched him to the side of the head, connecting with his jaw. John Smith was knocked over and his head made contact with the prison door, and then the floor.

A scan detected a large bleed on the brain together with extensive brain and skull damage. John Smith went into cardiac arrest and was placed on life support but was declared dead on 6 December 2020, the cause of death in the preliminary post-mortem report being a head injury.

Esa pleaded guilty to manslaughter. On 21 April 2021 he was sentenced to a further 2 years and 3 months’ imprisonment, with a licence extension of 12 months, at Stafford Crown Court.

Following a referral to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme by the Solicitor General, on 25 June 2021 the Court found the sentence to be unduly lenient and increased it to 6 years’ imprisonment, with a licence extension of 4 years.

After the hearing at the Court of Appeal, the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP, said:

Esa’s cowardly attack led to the death of a fellow prisoner, who had no chance of defending himself. I chose to refer his sentence because I felt that it was too low. I hope that the Court of Appeal’s decision brings some comfort to John Smith’s family.

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