Mendham's jail term cut after appeal

PUBLISHED: 14:04 12 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:22 14 September 2010

Peter Mendham's jail term has been cut to five years.

Peter Mendham's jail term has been cut to five years.

Former Norwich City player Peter Mendham has today had his prison sentence for stabbing his former girlfriend cut by two and a half years.

Mendham, 46, who played more than 260 games for the Canaries between 1976 and 1987, was jailed in February for seven and a half years after he admitted knifing Charlotte Hyam, 39.

Former Norwich City player Peter Mendham has today had his prison sentence for stabbing his former girlfriend cut by two and a half years.

Mendham, 46, who played more than 260 games for the Canaries between 1976 and 1987, was jailed in February for seven and a half years after he admitted knifing Charlotte Hyam, 39.

Today, Mendham succeeded in his bid to get the prison sentence shortened in a hearing at the criminal Court of Appeal in London.

The court agreed with Mendham's defence team that the punishment imposed at Norwich Crown Court was too long and cut the term to five years.

This means that, having been in prison since February, Mendham will now have little more than two years left to serve for the offence of wounding with intent.

Simon Nicholls, a partner at Belmores solicitors in Norwich which represents Mendham, said the defence team was delighted with the result.

He said: “The appeal case was presented by Michael Clare, the barrister who represented Mr Mendham at Norwich Crown Court, and the argument put before the Court of Appeal was that given the powerful mitigation - his guilty plea and his character and his remorse - the sentence that the crown court imposed was too long.”

He stressed that the Court of Appeal only changed sentences if they felt they were “manifestly excessive”.

Mr Nicholls added: “The entire defence team are delighted with the result. Although today I haven't spoken to Peter directly, I suspect that given the fact that two and a half years have been taken off his sentence he would be delighted with the result.

“We have always accepted that prison was inevitable and Peter accepted it, but the sentence was far too long.”

The fall from grace of the former fans' favourite was as spectacular as it was shocking.

Mendham had assured his place in the Carrow Road history books as a member of Norwich's Milk Cup winning side over Sunderland in 1985. He was also a Wembley winner with Diss Town in the 1994 FA Vase Final.

He scored 29 goals for Norwich in 267 games for the club after being spotted by scouts in a school match between Norwich and Ipswich.

Following his retirement from the professional game Mendham carved out a career as a fund raiser and worked tirelessly to promote and raise cash for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

But last year Mendham's world and his hard-earned reputation came crashing down around him with a string of personal disasters.

First Mendham was arrested in May 2006 after being spotted by two police officers following his partner on foot along Earlham Road.

His car was found abandoned further up the road facing the wrong way. He was given a year-long driving ban after he admitted driving under the influence of alcohol.

After the drink-driving conviction Mendham was suspended from his job as a fund raiser. However he was reinstated in August after bosses at the charity took into account his remorse and his new found desire to campaign against drink-driving.

But the stress of the conviction was the beginning of the end for Mendham, whose obsession with his partner spiralled out of all control and he stabbed her during a bitter row.

His arrest hit his family hard and his beloved mum Molly died following a heart attack in November.

Ms Hyam, who suffered life-threatening injuries and lost a kidney after the attack, had been in a steady relationship with another man when she began a relationship with Mendham two years earlier.

During the case Norwich Crown Court heard how Mendham had given her very generous gifts and had presented her with an engagement ring.

But after Mendham was arrested for drink-driving, the former footballer became obsessed with Ms Hyam.

“He explained to her that he would kill himself if she ever left him," the prosecution told the court.

On the day of the attack, October 18, 2006, the couple were at Mendham's house in Whitlingham Lane, Trowse, when an argument erupted after Ms Hyam returned the engagement ring.

When the mother-of-two said she had to leave to pick up her 13-year-old daughter, Mendham refused to let her go.

The court was then told how Mendham picked up a knife and stabbed Ms Hyam in the back.

In a statement to the court Ms Hyam said: “Peter told me if he couldn't have me no one would and that we were both going to die." The court heard Mendham left the knife in Ms Hyam's back and that she removed it before blacking out.

The prosecution said Mendham waited 10 to 15 minutes before calling the emergency services, leaving Ms Hyam bleeding in the hallway as he called his ex-wife from a bedroom.

When paramedics arrived they found Ms Hyam in the hallway covered with blood and vomit.

In mitigation, the defence said any intent on Mendham's part was momentary and he wished he could “turn the clock back”.

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