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Muswell Hill man’s sentence halved after fracturing rugby player’s skull

PUBLISHED: 12:01 16 September 2010

Student’s lawyers argue it was the impact of fall after the punch which caused the most damage

A MUSWELL Hill man who left a Scotland under-20s rugby player with a fractured skull has had his sentence more than halved by top judges on appeal.

Student Luke Edward Tripp, 21, of Marriott Road, Muswell Hill, was originally jailed for 20 months at Leicester Crown Court in June this year after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the attack on his fellow student, Russell Weir.

But this week he successfully appealed against that sentence at London’s Court of Appeal.

Mr Weir, who was on the books for Heart of Midlothian Football Club and played rugby for Edinburgh at junior level, lost his place in the Scotland Under-20 team as a result of his injuries – his skull was fractured when Tripp threw a punch which then sent him toppling to the pavement.

Mr Justice Mitting told the court they acknowledged the injury had clearly had a “very significant effect on his life”.

Despite this, Tripp’s lawyers argued that the principal damage to Mr Weir was done not by the punch itself, but through the impact of the fall on the pavement.

The appeal court heard that the incident occurred late at night in Loughborough when the two men ended up in a tense stand-off.

At the time of the incident, Tripp was a first year maths student in the city and is also a gifted footballer.

The judges heard that he had pleaded guilty to GBH on the basis that the punch was dealt in self-defence and his lawyers took issue with the original sentencing judge’s comments that Tripp should have learned to “walk away” from the violence.

They argued that the judge failed to spell out that Tripp was in fact “walking away” seconds before he lashed out at Mr Weir in self-defence.

Appeal judge Mr Justice Mitting, sitting with Lord Justice Elias, said: “It seems that the judge, in passing sentence, may have overlooked these facts.

“In all the circumstances, the sentence cannot be justified.”

He then slashed Tripp’s sentence to nine months.


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