OAP’s prison term reduced by court

A PENSIONER who was jailed for being abusive to staff and fellow residents at his sheltered accommodation has had his sentence reduced by the Court of Appeal.

James Thorley, 69, was given a four-month sentence at Hastings County Court on May 3 after breaching an anti-social behaviour injunction.

He was judged to have sworn at people in Royal Terrace, Terrace Road, St Leonards.

But last Friday his sentence was cut to six weeks after two top judges, including the country’s most senior civil judge, sitting at London’s Civil Court of Appeal, ruled the original term was too long.

The court heard Thorley moved into the sheltered accommodation - run by Amicus Horizon Limited - in September 2008.

From April 2009, Amicus began receiving a number of complaints about his behaviour, including from a woman in her 80s.

Following those complaints, the social landlord applied to the county court to evict Thorley from his flat and - ahead of a possession hearing - an interim anti-social behaviour injunction was issued in January this year.

Thorley breached the court order three times, on February 29 and April 5 and 24, by swearing at residents and staff and entering the communal lounge.

On one of these occasions, he shouted at the manager of the block: “I know who you are and I know what car you drive. I am going to f***ing have you.”

The Hastings County Court judge found Thorley had committed the breaches and jailed him for four months.

At the Appeal Court, his lawyers argued the sentence was “too long”, saying he will lose his home anyway and now has an exclusion injunction banning him from the building, which will reduce the chance of him breaching the order in future.

The court also heard he has suffered from ill-health, having undergone treatment for prostate cancer and a heart condition.

Allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Toulson, sitting with the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said the term was “too long” for his breaches and reduced it to six weeks.