Knife-wielding robber has sentence cut on appeal

Uncle Brians
Uncle Brians

A knife-wielding robber who terrorised two guests in their rooms at a Blackpool hotel has had his jail term cut on appeal.

Alistair Scott Haines, 23, was staying at Uncle Brian’s Hotel in Springfield Road in January last year.

He used two knives to rob and terrify two other guests as they relaxed on their beds.

Haines, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 15 years, plus a three-year extended licence period, in March last year.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, theft, and possessing a bladed article at Preston Crown Court.

Top judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court cut his jail term to 12-and-a-half years.

Lord Justice Treacy heard that Haines, who was homeless at the time, was staying at the hotel on January 30.

He knocked on the door of another guest and asked to borrow his tablet computer.

He was admitted to the room but then began “rambling,” produced a knife, and proceeded to tie up the occupant of the room and demand his keys.

The man struggled free, sustaining cuts, and grappled with Haines, wresting the knife from him.

Haines fled that room but shortly afterwards another man awoke in his room to find the robber looming over him with a knife.

The intruder had stolen the blade from the hotel kitchen and again demanded keys.

After the alarm was raised, Haines rushed into the street, still in possession of a knife, before being arrested.

Lawyers for Haines claimed his total sentence was too high and ought to be reduced. The court was told that he had endured a difficult childhood.

The judge sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Fraser described the offences as “disturbing and giving rise to huge concern.”

But he went on to reduce the sentence, saying that 15 years was too long for him to be locked up .

“In all the circumstances we consider that reducing the sentence to 12 and a half years would be appropriate,” he concluded.

In order to protect the public, the extended licence period was increased from three years to four.