Robber’s aggression was ‘due to brain tumour’

 

An armed robber has had his indefinite jail sentence overturned – after judges ruled that he behaved aggresively only because of a brain tumour.

Trevor Raymond Hayes, 47, was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection in July 2011 for a string of robberies, during which he put a sawn-off shotgun to the heads of customers in a post office and bank.

Hayes, of Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, a man whose previous criminal career had consisted largely of “petty theft”, also used the gun to threaten two motorists before stealing a van.

Hayes pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, various firearm offences and arson at Oxford Crown Court, and was jailed indefinitely after the judge ruled he was a dangerous offender who posed a serious risk of future harm to the public.

But today Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice King and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, overturned the sentence after hearing that a massive undiscovered brain tumour was found to be the cause of his “aggressive and compulsive behaviour”.

The tumour, which was pressing on his frontal lobe, was discovered and removed six months after Hayes was sent to jail.

Barrister Jonathan Rose presented a medical report to the court, in which a doctor explained the “unusual scenario” and said that Hayes was no longer a public risk.

“Having removed the brain tumour, if one can keep this tumour under control, he would be unlikely to show any aggressive or compulsive behaviour,” said Mr Rose. “The concern is no longer there. It is such an unusual scenario.” Lord Justice Davis said of the new evidence: “There is a direct link between the size of the tumour and his behaviour. The evidence appears to be clear.”

Mr Justice King said it was a “highly unusual case”, adding that Hayes’ “ability to rationalise his own conduct and exercise self-control” had been negatively affected by the tumour,

“He was suffering from an abnormality of mind. Had there been no tumour, he would not have behaved as he did. One would have expected him to continue with his previous course of petty theft, not to indulge in personal threats and the use of firearms. There is nothing to suggest that he will again be a danger to the public,” the judge said.

“We are satisfied that, because of the doctor’s report, no court would conclude that there is a significant risk to the public now the tumour has been removed and the finding of dangerousness in these wholly exceptional circumstances should be set aside.”

Quashing the indefinite sentence, the judges replaced it with an 11-year jail term, of which Hayes will serve half before qualifying for automatic release.

They said that he had not reduced the sentence any further because the medical report had not concluded that Hayes had not realised he was committing crimes.