Batchelor, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, October 18, 2018, [2018] EWCA Crim 2506

Resolution Date:October 18, 2018
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Batchelor, R v
 
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No: 201803839/A2

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWCA Crim 2506

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London, WC2A 2LL

Thursday, 18 October 2018

B e f o r e:

LORD JUSTICE SIMON

MR JUSTICE JULIAN KNOWLES

HIS HONOUR JUDGE WALL QC

(Sitting as a Judge of the CACD)

REFERENCE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER

S.36 OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1988

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R E G I N A

v

LEE BATCHELOR

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Mr W Emlyn Jones appeared on behalf of the Attorney General

Mr A Waller (HCA) appeared on behalf of the Offender

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Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of Epiq Europe Ltd 165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Email: rcj@epiqglobal.co.uk (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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LORD JUSTICE SIMON:

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  1. On 19 June 2018 the offender, Lee Batchelor, now aged 40, pleaded guilty in the Crown Court at Lewes to a single count of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered; and sentencing was adjourned for the preparation of a pre-sentence and a psychiatric report. On 21 August he was sentenced by His Honour Judge Gold QC to a term of 2 years' imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a requirement to perform 200 hours of unpaid work.

  2. The Solicitor General seeks leave to refer that sentence to this court, under section 36 of Criminal Justice Act 1988, as being unduly lenient. We grant leave.

  3. In May 2018 the offender was living in a block of flats, Longhton House, Bexhill-on-Sea. He was living in one of six flats, (No 80) with his wife and children. Directly above their flat was Flat 81 where 16-year-old, Bleu Marchant, lived with her father. Ms Marchant and her father had lived in the block for over 10 years and got on well with the other neighbours. Mr Marchant had known the offender all that time and they got on very well. However, in the build-up to May 2018 the offender had grown upset by the noise coming from Flat 81, particularly because Ms Marchant frequently had visitors and would play loud music. The offender had complained about this.

  4. On Friday 11 May 2018 Ms Marchant was at home with some friends. Her father was out for the evening. At 10.30 pm she went outside to meet another friend who was just arriving and she heard the offender on the phone. He was speaking loudly. She heard him say: "I'm going to fucking petrol bomb the flat. There are three girls in there now". Ms Marchant's friends all left by midnight and she then went to bed.

  5. The following evening, Saturday 12 May, Ms Marchant was again at home in her flat with a group of friends. They were playing music and dancing and she was later to accept that her music had been quite loud. At about 9.30 she heard a noise which she thought might have been her mobile phone ringing, she turned the music down and realised the noise was coming from the fire alarm from the communal hallway outside her flat. She opened the front door and saw that the landing was filled with smoke and that the surface of the front door was on fire. She quickly returned to the kitchen, and grabbed a bowl of water which she threw over the door extinguishing some of the flames. There was a great deal of thick smoke coming from the fire by this stage, so she went back inside, closed the door and left the flat with her friends via a rear window, climbing onto the external fires escape...

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