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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Skip death boy's sentence reduced
Michael Temperley
Michael Temperley died in a burning skip in July 2003
A teenager, found guilty of killing his friend by starting a skip fire, has won a reduction in his sentence.

Michael Temperley, 15, of Low Fell, Gateshead, died after he was shut in an enclosed skip which was then set on fire as a prank.

The 16-year-old was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four years detention by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court on April 1.

On Friday, London's Appeal Court reduced the sentence by 12 months.

Parents present

Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Grigson and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said: "We have reached the conclusion after very anxious consideration that this appeal ought to be allowed and that the sentence of four years detention will be reduced to one of three years detention."

The victims' parents were present in court for the ruling.

During the trial in April, a jury heard how Michael, of Oakwood Avenue, was shut in an enclosed waste skip which contained wood and cardboard from a furniture store on the Team Valley Retail Park last July.

The prank went wrong when the defendant posted a lit piece of paper through a gap between the door and frame and the skip swiftly went up in flames.


Trial judge, Mr Justice Henriques, accepted the defendant had tried to free Michael and he had not foreseen that the skip door's locking mechanism would jam.

Michael's mother had written a letter to the judge expressing concern that the boy would receive a long sentence.

The teenager's counsel, Peter Lodder QC, told the appeal judges today that a "few moments of recklessness" had cast a shadow over the rest of his life.



Skip death boy gets four years
01 Apr 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Teenager guilty over skip death
24 Mar 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Boy blames friend for skip fire
22 Mar 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Woman battled to save boy
17 Mar 04  |  Tyne/Wear

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