Robbery hero criticises appeal judges

By Liz HearnshawA HAVE-a-go hero who tackled a robber who had stabbed his wife in the neck has criticised appeal judges for cutting the attacker's jail sentence.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A HAVE-a-go hero who tackled a robber who had stabbed his wife in the neck has criticised appeal judges for cutting the attacker's jail sentence.

Kenneth Hurren said the decision to cut Stephen Tully's jail term from 12 years to nine years on appeal had made the role of the sentencing court “superfluous”.

The 61-year-old, who was punched and kicked by Tully following a raid on his jewellery store in Bury St Edmunds, said a man with 70 previous convictions should be kept behind bars for the maximum possible time.

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Mr Hurren voiced his outrage yesterday as he was presented with a bravery award from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

“I am angry about the reduction in sentence because, as far as I am concerned, a 12-year term should stick when it is given to somebody with the record this man has,” he said.

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“What is the point in a judge giving a sentence in one court then another judge cutting it down? It makes the job of the first judge superfluous.”

Mr Hurren received his commendation in recognition of his bravery on January 8, 2003, when Tully, 45, from Peacehaven, East Sussex, struck at the Gold and Silver Studios in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds.

Tully had asked Mr Hurren's wife, Jennifer, if he could see a £8,000 diamond ring.

As Mr Hurren came into the main store from the rear workshop, he saw a scuffle and thought his wife had been punched.

It later emerged she had been stabbed in the neck with what turned out to be a Swiss army knife.

“She crashed backwards and shouted out and I jumped on the man and then chased him out of the shop,” recalled Mr Hurren.

“When I went back later I found her covered in blood. I did not know she had been stabbed and it was a complete shock.

“Fortunately, she was falling backwards when he attacked her - if not, the knife would have gone in a lot deeper, which does not bear thinking about.”

Mr Hurren pursued Tully through the streets of Bury St Edmunds before James Creed, 17, who was shopping in town and heard the jeweller's cries for help, joined the chase.

Together they brought Tully to the ground and restrained him until two off-duty police officers - Pc Stewart Bell and Pc Maggie Williams - stepped in.

“Chasing the man was just instinct and I would definitely do the same again,” said Mr Hurren.

“I was just protecting my own. I do not feel like a hero and am sure anybody else in that situation would have done the same.

He added: “My wife still is not very good and doesn't like anything that reminds her of the occasion. It has played on her mind and she is now very security conscious.

“She suffered from a one-inch wound and the whole blade must have gone into her neck. If the blade had been one millimetre either side, she would not have been here at all. Now it is just something we want to forget.”

After receiving his award, Mr Hurren dedicated it to his wife and commended both James Creed and the two off-duty police officers for their help.

“I think it is really good that the police acknowledge the public for doing things like this and is especially nice for James,” added Mr Hurren.

“You do not get many 17-year-olds chasing after people. Young people do get bad press, but this shows they are not all the same.”

Tully was sent to prison for 12 years at Ipswich Crown Court last year after admitting robbery, unlawful wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said his sentenced had been reduced to nine years on appeal.

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