BROTHERS jailed for a vicious joint attack on a man on New Year’s Day have had their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal.

Sean Ross Riley, plus Jason John and Ethan Gladstone Smith were each sentenced to six years and 11 months after admitting causing grievous bodily harm (gbh) with intent at Durham Crown Court, on Monday May 17.

In the January 1 incident the trio stopped a moving taxi on Dodds Close, in Wheatley Hill, east Durham, before dragging out the victim, a passenger, from the vehicle into the street.

They then repeatedly struck him with a hammer, with at least six blows to the head, causing a broken jaw, fractured eye socket and other skull fractures.

The assailants then fled the scene, leaving the victim lying in a pool of blood.

Neighbours who heard the attack rang emergency services and the victim was taken to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for treatment for his injuries, which led to a reduction of his mobility and saw a loss of all but three of his teeth.

Riley, now 29, of Dalton Terrace, Wheatley Hill, Jason Smith, 22, of Acre Rigg Road, Peterlee, and 20-year-old Ethan Smith, of Ash Grove, Trimdon Station, appeared at Durham Crown Court in February and denied the charge, admitting the lesser offence of unlawful wounding.

The case was adjourned for trial in June, but at a further plea hearing in May, all three changed their original pleas and admitted the more serious charge of causing gbh with intent, when the original 83-month sentences were imposed.

But their cases were referred to the Attorney General’s office to be reviewed under the Unduly Lenient Sentence provisions.

They were subsequently referred to the Court of Appeal, for consideration by the Solicitor General.

She ruled that their sentences were unduly lenient.

All three sentences were uplifted by 19 months to a total of eight years and six months, or 102 months, in each case.

Due to his age, Ethan Smith’s sentence is to a Young Offenders’ Institution.

After the hearing, the Solicitor General, MP Lucy Frazer QC, said: “These men brutally attacked their victim, leaving him with serious and debilitating injuries.

“I am glad the Court of Appeal saw fit to increase their sentences.”


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