St Albans man who attacked landlady in her bed has jail term cut

The Robin Hood pub in Victoria Street

The Robin Hood pub in Victoria Street - Credit: Archant

A St Albans man who was caged after returning to the pub where he had worked and battering the landlady as she cowered in her bed today saw his prison sentence slashed by top judges.

Mary Taylor has felt unable to go back to The Robin Hood, in Victoria Street, since her former employee, Jabir Corrales Garcia, of Roland Street, broke in and attacked her as she tried to call the police.

The 31-year-old, who was caught afterwards with £1,690 he had stolen, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause GBH and burglary, and was jailed for seven years at St Albans Crown Court last June.

But today, after an appeal by his lawyers in London, the “manifestly excessive” prison sentence was reduced to six years by Lord Justice Jackson, Mr Justice Simon and Sir Colin Mackay.

The court heard Mrs Taylor had been intending to sell the pub, but has been unable to return to work as landlady there due to the traumatic ordeal which she suffered at Garcia’s hands.

In the early hours of March 14 last year, she was woken by the sound of broken glass and, realising someone was inside, went to her bed and crawled under the duvet to call the police.

Garcia then appeared and struck her five or six times over the head. The weapon was probably her telephone, because her blood and clumps of her hair were found on it afterwards, the court heard.

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Speaking afterwards, she said she had since gone to live with her son and had been unable to return to her flat above the pub or to live on her own in another property which she owns in the city.

Her biggest question was why Garcia had felt the need to attack her when she was not doing anything to stop him stealing from the pub, said appeal judge, Sir Colin. Garcia claimed he panicked.

Today, lawyers for the thug argued at the Appeal Court that the seven-year sentence, based on an 11-year “starting point” before reduction to reward his guilty pleas, was much too long.

Giving judgment, Sir Colin, sitting with Lord Justice Jackson and Mr Justice Simon, agreed.

“It was a very serious crime, but we do accept that the starting point of 11 years is too high,” he said.

“We consider that the starting point should have been one of nine years which, after reduction of one-third for the plea of guilty, gives a sentence of six years.”