This one requires some explanation. In March 2003, I was sitting in the public gallery at Kingston Crown Court waiting for a pre-trial hearing of a case that would eventually be heard at Croydon.
It was delayed, and the same judge dealt with five cases in the meantime, including the sentencing of Natalie Knight. She had pleaded not guilty but had been convicted. Frankly, I didn’t believe her, and neither did her father with whom I would later speak briefly, but all the same I was staggered at the length of her sentence. I was also more than a little annoyed, because only two months earlier at the same court, perhaps even in the same courtroom, the lowlife who inflicted these injuries on a totally innocent stranger received an eight year sentence.
Glyn Darkin had both his lungs punctured, damage to his intestines, and other injuries. He told the court that one blow “nicked the casing of my heart”.
This was a street robbery - what nowadays is called a mugging - in order to steal the victim’s mobile phone. To add insult to injury, Clinton Noel claimed to have been defending himself, something called blaming the victim. I couldn’t help thinking, if you had to choose between him and Natalie Knight to babysit your kids, which...? Heck, talk about no-brainer.
Even without her mitigation - which I won’t go into because it was personal and undoubtedly true - I thought the sentence was excessive, and when I told Orme, he thought so too. I wrote to Knight, assuming she would be in Holloway, and ended up playing gofer.
Orme took the case pro bono, and you will see from the final paragraph that he didn’t get paid at the end of the day. For the record, he was Junior Counsel in the infamous case of Riley v Gable & Others - he would have been Senior Counsel, but lost his nerve at the last minute, and brought in Nigel Ley.
I didn’t attend the hearing, but when we spoke on the phone, Orme told me they had dismissed the appeal against sentence without drawing breath, or words to that effect. If I’d known Morland had been on the bench, I wouldn’t have been surprised; it was that silly old cunt who presided over Baron v Housmans.
I found it difficult to credit that previous good character counts for nothing. Whatever, she will have been released long ago now; I hope she doesn’t make anymore bad choices. Especially in men!
To Regina v Knight (2004)
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