Robbery sentence not reduced for Deganwy man

Reporter:

Court Reporter

A drug addict who lay in wait in the early hours of the morning and attacked a nightclub owner with an axe as he arrived home with the night’s takings has failed in a bid to reduce his prison sentence of six years and four months.

At Roy Browne’s sentencing hearing last month, Mold Crown Court was told that in the 1990s he had served a ten year sentence for drugs offences.

His barrister Michael Whitty told the court his client’s instructions were that those convictions had been quashed by the court of appeal.

A retrial had been ordered, that retrial never took place and the convictions no longer stood – although there was no official confirmation of that at this stage.

He had the case listed under the so-called “slip rule” where a sentence could be varied by the judge who imposed it.

But Judge Rhys Rowlands said that even accepting that those convictions had been quashed, the length and nature of the sentence would remain the same.

It was, he said, a serious robbery in the early hours where the defendant and another lay in wait for the victim to return home.

The defendant was at the time armed with an axe, he said.

At the earlier hearing in October, the judge commended victim Gwilym Ritchie who he said acted with great courage and fortitude that night.

Roy Browne, aged 58, wore a scarf over his face with his hood up and waited with an unknown accomplice, both hidden in a bush, as Mr Ritchie arrived home.

He was hit to the back of the head with the small axe but bravely fought back.

Brown grabbed him by the throat and demanded the cash but Mr Ritchie was having none of it.

Prosecuting barrister Owen Edwards said the victim span the defendant around so that they were face to face and punched him several times, causing him to drop the axe.

Browne shouted to his accomplice to get the money but when Mr Ritchie turned and stared at the other masked man, he thought better of it and both fled, leaving him with a cut to his finger and a swelling to the head.

But while the victim had acted bravely on the night, the thought that he could have lost his life that night remained with him and his family, the court was told.

Browne, of Deganwy Road, Deganwy, admitted attempting to rob Mr  Ritchie of £4,000 outside his home in Violet Grove, Rhyl, in the early hours of April 15 and possessing the axe as an offensive weapon.

Judge Rowlands warned Brown if he had been convicted after trial then he could have expected a nine and a half year sentence.

Brown told that it was planned and they lay in wait for their victim, who they targeted.

“Understandably the victim feared for his life,” Judge Rowlands said.

“He was attacked outside his home and showed remarkable courage and strength of character in fighting back.”

Judge Rowlands made a ten-year restraining order under which he is not to go anywhere near the victim’s home address or business premises.

In a victim impact statement Mr Ritchie, the owner of Fusion Nightclub in Rhyl, said it had a significant impact upon himself, and his family, and he had since changed his routine, installed additional lighting and security and had removed the bush where his attackers hid.

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