Court of Appeal increase unduly lenient sentence of Paul Byrne after CPS referral

27/04/2016

The Court of Appeal has today increased the sentence of Paul Byrne for causing grievous bodily harm with intent to a health nurse at HMP Preston in October 2014.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) considered that the original sentence for Paul Byrne of 7 years and 8 months imprisonment plus 4 years extended licence was unduly lenient and referred the case to the Attorney General, for consideration. The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP referred it to the Court of Appeal. The original sentence has been quashed and substituted with 11 years imprisonment plus 4 years extended licence making a total sentence of 15 years. This will run consecutive to the 10 years and 3 months that Byrne is already serving for robbery.

On 8th October 2014, Paul Byrne was a serving prisoner at HMP Preston residing in a single cell on the health care wing. At 1.45pm he sounded the personal alarm in his cell which the nurse responded to. As she looked through the hatch of the cell, Paul Byrne threw boiling hot water in her face.

Brett Gerrity, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: "Paul Byrne is clearly a dangerous man. Whilst he was serving a prison sentence for a violent robbery he committed whilst in possession of a firearm, he carried out another extremely serious offence by attacking a nurse at the prison.

"His callous actions towards a female nurse were unprovoked and premeditated. He boiled the kettle, poured the water into a bowl, pressed the alarm button and then waited out of sight so that the nurse coming to his assistance would have to put their face to the hatch. He used the water as a weapon intending to cause the maximum harm he possibly could to his victim; she received hospital treatment for second degree burns and has been left with permanent scarring and discoloration to her face, neck, chest and arms. Aside from the physical scars, this traumatic experience has caused her long term anxiety and distress and as a direct result of the assault was forced to leave her employment with the prison service.

"We took the view that the original sentence imposed upon Byrne did not reflect the seriousness of the offence or the risk to the public upon his release from prison. I am grateful that the Attorney General and the Court of Appeal have given such close attention to the case."