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Would-be car-jacker jailed 'after walking free.

A would-be car-jacker who was allowed to walk free by an "unduly lenient" judge after holding up a pharmacist at knife-point has been handed a five-year prison sentence.

Within hours of being given a drug treatment and testing order, Ian James Giles (30) was out celebrating his good fortune with friends, London's Criminal Appeal Court heard.

But yesterday Lord Justice Hooper said the original non-custodial sentence had been "unduly lenient" and replaced it with a five-year jail term.

In a quest for cash to feed his pounds 350-a-day drug habit, Giles, of Bromfield Place, Earlsdon, Coventry, attempted to car-jack Rakhi Batavia on the night of February 1 this year.

As she went to start her car after leaving work in Coventry, Giles leapt into the passenger seat and demanded: "Give me a lift. I've got a knife. I'll kill you".

But Ms Batavia managed to wrestle him away and flee to a nearby house. Giles, who has a long list of previous convictions for burglary, robbery and other offences going back years, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery at Coventry Crown Court in May.

The following month Mr Recorder Aucott allowed him to walk free, giving him an18-month drug treatment and testing order.

Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Dame Heather Steel, agreed with lawyers for Solicitor General Mike O'Brien that the sentence was "unduly lenient".

After taking into account Ms Batavia's victim impact statement, the judge said: "We have no doubt this was an inappropriate sentence.

Lord Justice Hooper said Ms Batavia had been left "badly shaken" by the incident, which she said had "completely changed her life".

She is now scared and anxious whenever she goes out of the house and her husband has to accompany her on shopping trips.

"Her victim impact statement is testimony to the effect this kind of crime has on people", said Lord Justice Hooper
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 2, 2005
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