A VIOLENT robber jailed after threatening to slit the throat of his victim as he burgled his house armed with a crowbar has attempted to have his sentence cut – claiming he was “too sweaty” to get a fair trial.
Watch thief Jack Murray begged top judges to free him from prison, with lawyers arguing his excessive perspiration while sat in the dock could have given jurors the tell-tale impression he was guilty.
The 30-year-old was sent down for 11 years after being found guilty of carrying out the armed raid at the home of Southampton watchmaker, during which a Rolex worth £4,500 was stolen.
Before that he had been on the run for 19 months until police found him sleeping in a car and he was arrested.
Judges sitting at London’s Appeal Court heard how Murray suffers from hyperhidrosis, a condition which causes excessive perspiration. It was this “fresh evidence” which his lawyers said made his conviction unsafe.
The Daily Echo reported at the time how victim Jim Webb was at home in the Bitterne area of Southampton when the back door suddenly flung open, and three men in balaclavas burst in.
Brandishing a crowbar, the gang – including Murray – told Mr Webb to hand over his valuable Rolex watch and told him that he would not be hurt if he did not struggle.
Prosecutor Jodie Mittell said: “But he did struggle, and he was then subjected to a nasty and brutal assault.
“He was struck on the body and on the head with the crowbar, causing his head to bleed.
“One of the men then picked up Mr Webb’s kitchen knife and held it to his neck.
“He said if he resisted he would slit his throat from ear to ear. The men eventually ran away taking the watch with them.”
The court heard how Murray, then 29, was one of three robbers who later ran from the back of the victim’s house and jumped into a silver Mercedes, driven by getaway driver Nathan Arcon.
Police later found the vehicle less than an hour later in Primrose Road, in the Flowers Estate area of the city.
Murray’s mobile phone was discovered on the front passenger seat and where he had been sitting. a holdall and its contents in the rear footwell were also his.
Murray went on the run for 19 months and was not arrested until he was found sleeping in a car. Now he has begun the 11-year sentence after being convicted of aggravated burglary.
Lawyers for Murray, of Shawford Close, Bassett, argued his sentence was unfair as the trial judge and jury had not known his sweaty appearance was down to a medical condition.
They argued the “fresh evidence” about the medical cause of his sweating cast doubt on the jury’s verdict, making his conviction ‘unsafe’.
Mr Justice Singh told the burglar: “We would not accept that this constitutes fresh evidence.”
Other grounds of appeal, relating to “bad character evidence” put before the jury, were also thrown out.
Hyperhidrosis, which has unknown causes, is a condition characterized by abnormal sweating in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature.
Anxiety or excitement can worsen the condition and sufferers often complain that they get nervous because they sweat, then sweat more because they are nervous.
Mr Justice Singh, sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Judge James Burbidge QC, refused Murray’s appeal.