A TEENAGE killer who received a minimum jail term of six years for the murder of a 52-year-old grandfather should have received up to double that, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

Declan Paul Appleby, 19, was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court in June after being convicted of murdering Ron Sharples.

An accomplice, Scott Fullam, who admitted manslaughter, received two-and-a-half years for his part in the New Year’s Day attack last year in Marske, east Cleveland – but he was released almost immediately as he had already spent a long period in jail.

The case was back in court again yesterday when the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, asked for Appleby’s minimum term to be increased.

Andrew Edis, representing Baroness Scotland at the Court of Appeal, told a panel of five top judges the teenager’s sentence was “unduly lenient”.

Although Mr Sharples died after hitting his head as he fell, the kick meted out by Appleby, of Cliff Street, New Marske, Redcar, was of such force that it had caused serious injury to his victim’s cheek and neck.

The judge imposed the six-year minimum – half of the usual 12-year “starting point” for young killers – partly due to the big difference that would otherwise result between his term and Fullam’s manslaughter sentence.

It was “wrong in principle” for the judge to approach the case in such a way, Mr Edis told the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Lord Justice Thomas, Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Royce.

The attack had a series of seriously aggravating features, he continued, including Appleby’s previous convictions, the fact the assault took place in a public place, Inglewood Avenue, and that bystanders were left terrified.

“A starting point of 12 years was appropriate and there were few grounds to discount that further,” he said.

“The judge did discount it, initially to nine years, and then later discounted that by a further three years, to six years, the result of which, in my respectful submission, is plainly unduly lenient.”

Timothy Roberts, representing Appleby, said the judge was right to impose a relatively low minimum term, which must be served before Appleby can apply for parole.

He said Appleby would be applying for leave to challenge his conviction before different judges in a later Court of Appeal hearing.

A judgement on the case will be made at a later date.