SENTENCE APPEAL DISMISSED

A DANGEROUS criminal who robbed his uncle before kidnapping his former father-in-law in a terrifying crime spree has had his appeal over his sentence dismissed by judges.

Mark Worton, 45, of Pentrich Road, Ripley, was given a 12-year extended sentence at Derby Crown Court in June, after admitting a string of offences.

He challenged the term at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was “too long” for his crimes.

But his appeal was dismissed by top judges, who said the eight-year custodial term, with a four-year extended licence period, was “not excessive”.

Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Judge Charles Wide QC, told the court Worton committed the offences in January.

He first went to the home of his uncle, 73-year-old Charles Stanhope, and demanded money from him.

The pensioner handed over £20, but Worton held out a knife – similar to the sort used by military Gurkhas – and threatened to stab him, saying he would “take his legs” if he didn’t give him more cash.

He blocked Mr Stanhope’s escape route, before stealing the keys to his car and driving off in it.

His elderly uncle was frightened by the incident. He later made a statement to police afterwards saying he had helped to bring up Worton and had even taken Christmas presents from his own children to give to him.

During the incident, Worton spoke to a police officer over the phone and said he might as well kill himself, before continuing his crime spree – stealing cigarettes, whisky and champagne worth about £65 from a Co-operative store in Ripley.

He then drove to the home of his ex-wife’s father, Kenneth Smith, and subjected the 58-year-old to a terrifying ordeal, the court heard.

Mr Smith, who had not seen Worton for many years, was sitting watching television when the attacker burst in, told him to “start praying” and threatened to kill him.

After breaking down, Worton demanded money from the victim, who handed over cash and jewellery before bundling him into Mr Stanhope’s car and driving towards the M1.

Worton again produced the knife and said he was going to kill Mr Smith, but the victim was eventually able to escape from the car and get help from passing motorists.

Worton was arrested shortly afterwards. He admitted two counts of robbery, kidnap, having a bladed article, aggravated vehicle taking, making threats to kill and theft.

His lawyers argued his sentence was “too long”, saying the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of his depressive and suicidal mental state at the time of the incidents.

But, dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Pill said the sentence was “not excessive” for the very serious offences.

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The judge added: “This was a very serious series of offences. It was a protracted sequences of events in which the appellant persisted in serious criminal conduct. The learned recorder was entitled to treat him as he did.”