A TEENAGER who put a cushion over his great-grandmother’s face so he could steal money from her has had his 10-year extended sentence of detention reduced on appeal.
Former Brighouse youth Dion Groombridge, 17, was locked up last September following the attack on his 92-year-old relative at her flat in Elland, but his barrister Stephen Wood successfully appealed against the length of the sentence at a hearing before three Court of Appeal judges yesterday.
Rugby player Groombridge was 16 when he committed the offence last July and Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC described the attack as “truly chilling” when he sent the teenager to a young offenders’ institution for five years.
The judge also imposed a five-year extended licence period after hearing details of the shocking attack which left Groombridge’s great-grandmother slumped across her sofa gasping for breath.
Groombridge, formerly of Whinney Hill Park, Brighouse, was arrested and told officers that he had put a cushion over his great- grandmother’s face.
Groombridge admitted the rarely used offence of attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle with intent to steal £80 from his relative as well a charge of stealing a similar sum from a friend who had been putting him up about a fortnight earlier.
The court heard that Groombridge had no previous convictions and his school record was described as “impeccable”.
Mr Wood submitted during the Court of Appeal hearing that the sentence was too long and that the judge had failed to take account of his youth and good character.
The judges concluded that Judge Durham Hall had been right to impose an extended sentence in the case but reduced the custodial term from five years to four years.
They also reduced the extended licence period from five years to three years.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said Judge Durham Hall had overstated the effects of the attack on the victim.
He said while not belittling the fear and shock that would have been caused there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the victim had suffered a heart attack or that her subsequent falls were caused by what happened to her.