Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 15:00 UK

Sentence of 'prank' carjacker from Northampton is cut

A drunk man jailed for a "prank" attempted carjacking with an imitation gun has had his sentence cut at the Appeal Court in London.

Piotr Tomasz Wypych, 25, of Clare Street, Northampton, terrified two girls by tapping the gun on their car window and demanding they get out.

He was jailed for two years in January after admitting possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

But Appeal Court judges cut the sentence to 16 months.

Mr Justice Royce, who heard the appeal with Judge Gerald Gordon, said the two-year term was "manifestly excessive" and had to be cut.

Armed response unit

He told the court how Bianca Gregoire and Charlotte Muddle were left terrified by their ordeal in Northampton's Hunter Street on a November afternoon last year.

Miss Gregoire told police she had been sitting in her Fiat Punto when Wypych approached, tapped the gun on the window and demanded that she get out.

She refused and drove off, but was chased by Wypych, still brandishing the weapon, the crown court heard.

Police were called and he was arrested later that day after an armed response unit was mobilised, but the gun was never found.

At Northampton Crown Court, he admitted being very drunk and having tapped the gun on the girls' window as a "drunken prank". He denied saying anything to them.

The judge who sentenced him said only a custodial sentence was justified, since the girls had been terrified by the incident, one of them thinking she was going to die.

But Wypych's barrister Matthew Kirk argued he should not have received a sentence as long as two years, particularly because it had only been a prank.

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