A teenager who was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for his part in the killing of a 16-year-old boy at a Birmingham bus stop has won a two-year reduction in his term at the Court of Appeal.
Michel Anthony George Hayles, 18, was locked up after being convicted at the city’s Crown Court last September of the manslaughter of Odwayne Barnes.
The teenager had been part of a gang of young men who chased Odwayne like "a pack of animals" before attacking him and beating him near Matthew Boulton College.
His friend, Nathaniel Darby, then 20, also received 10 years for the manslaughter, but 18-year-old Damien Belle pleaded guilty to murder.
Lawyers representing Hayles, of Amberley Grove, Aston, successfully argued that it was wrong for the trial judge to hand him the same sentence as Darby, who was older and, therefore, more responsible.
Delivering the court’s judgment, Lord Justice Dyson spoke of the "spectacle of this young man being pursued as if by a pack of animals".
"He must have been absolutely terrified," he told the court.
The events that led to Odwayne’s tragic death began peacefully as he enjoyed a day out in Birmingham city centre with a friend on March 5 of last year.
But, as the pair made their way past the New Street railway station, they were confronted by a gang of 15 youths, including Hayles.
They were chased through the city centre, Odwayne fleeing so fast that he lost both of his trainers and had to continue running in his stocking feet.
Belle ran ahead of the others, carrying a knife, but eventually gave up the chase and allowed Odwayne to get away.
However, just 15 minutes later, the youth came across the gang again at a bus stop near the college in Jennens Road.
This time he was not so lucky. He was attacked by all three, punched and kicked, and stabbed through the heart with a knife.
Odwayne managed to break free and run a short distance away, but collapsed. Passing firefighters fought in vain to save his life, but he was pronounced dead soon afterwards.
Although he denied the offence of manslaughter, probation officers who interviewed Hayles before sentencing said he showed genuine regret for his actions. He had not intended to cause any serious harm to the victim.
Today, his barrister, William Rickarby, argued that the judge had been wrong to make no distinction between Hayles and Darby when he sentenced them.
Hayles was younger, just 16 at the time of the killing, and of good character - Darby was almost 21 and had previously been convicted of an assault on a police officer, he said.
Allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Dyson, who sat with Mr Justice Openshaw and Judge Gordon, said the sentencing judge should have made that distinction when considering their sentences.
"There is a substantial difference in terms of responsibility criminally between a young man of 16 and a young man of almost 21," he told the court.
"We also take into account the differences in their previous character.
"Taking account of those matters, we conclude that the judge should have passed a lesser sentence on Hayles than he did on Darby."