Ex-Canary's knife attack jail term cut

Former Norwich City player Peter Mendham could be set free from prison in two years' time after his sentence for almost killing his ex-girlfriend in a knife attack was reduced by a top judge.

Former Norwich City player Peter Mendham could be set free from prison in two years' time after his sentence for almost killing his ex-girlfriend in a knife attack was reduced by a top judge.

Mendham, 47, 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 the attack on Charlotte Hyam, 39.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Mendham was obsessed with Ms Hyam and dreaded losing her. He plunged a kitchen knife into her back after an argument at his home in Whitlingham Lane, Norwich, telling her: “If I can't have you nobody will. We are both going to die tonight.”

Mendham succeeded in his bid to get the prison sentence shortened in a hearing at the Court of Appeal Criminal Division in London.

The court agreed with his defence team that the punishment imposed was too long and cut the term to five years.

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.

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Mr Justice Pitchford heard that Ms Hyam lost a kidney due to the attack, but said the sentence was excessive.

He added that the “spontaneous” attack was committed while Mendham was in a state of “emotional desperation”.

The court heard that Ms Hyam only survived the attack “by luck and due to the skill of the paramedics and surgeons”.

Despite her injuries she was, at the time of sentencing, “still holding hopes of continuing a relationship”. Before his sentencing she spent New Year's Eve outside Norwich Prison gates penning him love letters.

Malcolm Robis, for the prosecution, said he could not confirm these stories but acknowledged that she had gone through a “maelstrom” of emotions, torn between her affections for Mendham and resentment at his violence towards her.

Simon Nicholls, a partner at Norwich's Belmores solicitors, the firm which represents Mendham, said the defence team was happy 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.”

Mendham 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 fundraiser and worked tirelessly to promote and raise cash for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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