Father who tried to kill children with hammer has sentence increased by 10 years

A man who tried to kill his four young children during a drug-induced psychosis has had his jail term increased by 10 years at the Court of Appeal.

Owen Scott admitted four counts of attempted murder and dangerous driving after he attacked the children with a hammer before driving his car, with them inside, into a wall at 92mph.

The 29-year-old, of Beech Crescent, Southampton, was jailed for life at Sheffield Crown Court in February and ordered to serve at least 14 years behind bars.

But his minimum term was increased to 24 years on Wednesday after senior judges ruled the original sentence was "unduly lenient".

Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with two other judges, said: "In our judgment the facts of this case demonstrate a case of particular gravity.

"Four young lives have been grievously affected, their mother's life has been blighted and the level of harm which has been done is very high indeed.

"It follows from that analysis that the sentence imposed below was unduly lenient."

Scott, who claims to have no memory of the incident, was arrested after his car crashed into the Travellers Inn at a remote location near Penistone, South Yorkshire, in August last year.

The Travellers Inn on the A629
The Travellers Inn on the A629 (Dave Higgens/PA)

In the weeks before the incident, he developed paranoia, put down to a temporary psychosis caused by his long-term recreational cocaine and cannabis use.

He collected his three children and stepchild from his former partner's home in Southampton before driving to the Isle of Wight, Liverpool and Greater Manchester.

He then drove to Huddersfield before crashing into the pub in a deliberate attempt to kill the children.

The court heard he believed people were "after" him and thought the only way to protect the children was to kill them.

All four children, aged between nine months and eight years at the time of the crash, were left with "life-threatening and life-changing" injuries as a result of multiple blows delivered by Scott.

Medical reports indicate they will have lasting psychological damage and cognitive impairment, and one child will need a wheelchair for life.

Lord Justice Treacy said: "Each of the four victims has suffered dreadful injuries with long-term consequences as a result of the hammer attacks which precluded the final collision.

"There was a gross breach of trust in relation to each of them.

"It is clear that some of the children were old enough to understand what the offender was doing whilst those attacks were taking place."

Scott's sentence was referred to the court by Solicitor General Robert Buckland, who argued it did not reflect the serious nature of his actions or the injuries caused to his victims.

Following the court's ruling Mr Buckland said: "Four children's lives have been devastated by Scott's actions, and the physical and mental scars will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed to increase Scott's sentence to properly reflect the seriousness of his crime."

Scott will not be released automatically after serving his minimum term, but only when the Parole Board considers he does not pose a danger to the public.

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