Judges gavel

Article by Holly Braine, The Enquirer: Three 20-year-old yobs who threatened to bomb a Billericay Subway shop got off lightly and narrowly escaped a jail sentence after a court appeal.

The three were accused of making threatening calls to shop Manager Joseph Reno, including racial abuse, threats to kill his pregnant wife and son and swearing after an altercation.

Stephanie Copperwheat and Jordan Stubbings, both of Tate Close, Laindon and Sean Gaynor of Westfield in Laindon were originally sentenced to four months imprisonment each – but an appeal from their defence lawyer changed everything.

Read previous story: Three 'bored' teenagers plead guilty to bomb threat on owner of Subway in Billericay

The three pleaded guilty at Basildon Magistrates’ Court in June to one count of racially aggravated harassment with fear of violence, which Judge David Owen-Jones described as an “absolutely outrageous bout of behaviour”.

But the Judge had to adjourn the sentencing for a pre-sentence report after defence council Mr Chris Taylor raised mental health concerns. The Judge was also not satisfied with the verbal report from a probation officer.

All three took to the dock again on Friday to hear the outcome of the pre-sentence report. Mr Taylor commented that the event was a “nasty and unthinking act”, but nodded to the fact a custodial sentence was not necessarily the right one.

He added that Stubbings had been in care from an early age and suffered a serious accident which continues to give him a disability. He also said that Copperwheat had recently found out that her biological father was in jail and then man looking after her was her step father. She also suffered from depression and had been known to self-harm.

He said the trio “did not appreciate the significance of what they were doing.”

The court also heard of an impact statement from Mr Reno, where he stated that the event had a substantial impact on him and his family.

Copperwheat was crying in the dock as her sentence was read out, while the two men had their heads in their hands.

The Judge said that the court allowed the appeal and sentenced all three to a community order of 12 months with 12 months supervision and 120 hours unpaid work. In addition, Stubbings was ordered to take part in a thinking skills programme, and Gaynor a 23 day bridge project.

All three were also given a restraining order, preventing them from being in contact with Mr Reno or entering his shop.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Judge Owens"]I hope you are all ashamed of yourselves. You have let down your families.[/quote]

Article by Holly Braine, The Enquirer

More local news