St Leonards man’s jail term cut to 20 years

Stephen Bryant. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police
Stephen Bryant. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police

A man who was jailed for life after chopping off the thumbs of his victim has had his jail term cut.

Stephen Bryant, 40, from The Mount, St Leonards, was jailed last December after attacking his 36-year-old acquaintance in May 2015.

He appeared at London’s Appeal Court on Friday (October 20) where his prison sentence was reduced to a 20-year jail term by judges.

Bryant’s victim was seen being dragged from his home in Earl Street around 10am on May 29, 2015.

He managed to make his way to some remote cottages between Robertsbridge and Salehurst while suffering from terrible injuries and emergency services were called.

The man was bleeding heavily from his hands, as both of his thumbs had been severed almost entirely from his hands.

The victim initially refused to tell police many details, saying he had been held down and attacked with an axe.

Police said Bryant’s victim suffered serious lacerations to each hand, severed arteries and tendons and crushed bones.

CCTV was used to trace Bryant’s BMW travelling on the road.

Detectives traced him and arrested him in June 2015.

Investigating officers turned to phone technology to help with the case.

They used phone messages between Bryant and his associates to prove his intentions to harm the victim.

In a text message on May 24, 2015, just a few days before the incident, Bryant texted saying ‘found him boys and all in “hand” LOL’, making it clear his plan for the victim.

Bryant was charged in March last year with kidnap and GBH with intent and pleaded not guilty to both charges.

A trial was held at Hove Crown Court between September 13 and 20 last year and Bryant, who owned a gym in town, was found guilty.

Sentencing him to life imprisonment for the assault, HH Judge Anthony Niblett said at the time that Bryant’s attack on his victim was ‘brutal and sadistic’ and added it was ‘premeditated, carefully planned and well-executed’.

Bryant was also given a 10-year prison sentence for the kidnap offence following his trial in September last year.