A TEENAGER who killed a young dad by stabbing him with a Lord of the Rings-style sword fully deserved his 12-year sentence, top judges have ruled.
Richard Adam Reece, now 19, plunged the ornamental sword deep into Danny Jones' stomach after a “minor scuffle” turned deadly, London's Appeal Court heard.
The two pals had rowed after a protracted drinking session, Lady Justice Sharp told the court, prompting a fight in which Reece came off worse.
The judge – who accepted that Mr Jones had been the “aggressor” during part of the tussle – said Reece then provoked his former friend by leaping up and down on top of his car, “of which Mr Jones was very fond”.
The “enraged” Mr Jones chased Reece around the Oswestry car park where the pair had clashed, soon after which Reece went home.
But he later emerged brandishing a “short ornamental sword”, said the judge, advancing on Mr Jones despite witnesses' pleas for him to put it down.
The 21-year-old victim “did not back down” and the two men “came together with Reece stabbing Mr Jones in the stomach”.
Reece's victim collapsed with fatal injuries, but the killer did nothing to help him and fled from the scene.
Reece, of Lord Street, Oswestry, was detained for 12 years at Birmingham Crown Court after he was convicted of manslaughter in November last year.
But his case reached the Appeal Court today as he challenged his sentence, which his lawyers claimed was too harsh in light of his youth and the facts of the case.
He never set out to cause “really serious” injuries, it was argued, and Mr Jones had “come at him while he was holding the sword”.
Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Mrs Justice Simler, pointed to “harrowing” statements submitted by Mr Jones’ mother testifying to her devastation at the “loss of her only child”.
“The culpability in this case was very high,” the judge said.
“Reece escalated this incident, which had been a minor scuffle, leaving the car park to arm himself with a lethal weapon, the sword.
“He came back and then deliberately stabbed Mr Jones with it.
“In these circumstances we do not consider that the sentence passed was manifestly excessive.”