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Yob who glassed OAP fails to get sentence slashed

PUBLISHED: 17:47 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2010

A MAN given a potentially life-long sentence for his part in a vicious attempted robbery, in which a 72-year-old woman was glassed, has failed to get his term downgraded on appeal.

A MAN given a potentially life-long sentence for his part in a vicious attempted robbery, in which a 72-year-old woman was glassed, has failed to get his term downgraded on appeal.

Darren Mark Banks, 21, along with an accomplice, broke into the home of Shiela Dowling, in St Mary's Avenue, Bromley on the night of May 10 last year, demanded her car keys and, when she refused, left her bleeding from having a bottle smashed in her face.

Banks, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection (IPP) - an indefinite sentence almost identical to a life term- at Croydon Crown Court on November 23 last year.

A minimum term to be served of four years was set on the sentence.

Last Thursday he asked Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Jack and Mr Justice Griffith Williams at London's Criminal Appeal Court, to quash the IPP, which was imposed after he was assessed as a "dangerous" offender.

The court heard Mrs Dowling awoke to find that Banks and his accomplice had entered her house and were demanding her car keys.

When she refused and shoved one of the men, the other one responded by breaking a bottle of fruit drink he had taken from her kitchen in her face.

Mrs Dowling was left with cuts to her face and eyes full of blood, but managed to grope her way to the phone and call 999 as her cowardly assailants fled.

Fingerprints found inside the house were later linked to Banks.

Banks' lawyers argued that the IPP imposed on him was unjustified.

But Lord Justoce Hooper refused his appeal saying: "We consider that there was material here that entitled the judge to conclude that an IPP was appropriate. The two men were in the house in order to get a vehicle, and vehicle offending was the appellant's speciality.

"They armed themselves with weapons on arrival and, when they met with some slight interference, they used them to inflict injury."

Banks' IPP sentence means that, even after his minimum four-year sentence expires, he will only be freed if he can convince the Parole Board it is safe.

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