A killer who stabbed an Acton man to death at a family funeral had his jail sentence increased at the Court of Appeal.
John Nicholles, 53, was jailed for nine years for causing the death of 55-year-old Peter John, whom he stabbed in the neck at the City of London cemetery in east London last July.
Both men were attending the service for Mr John’s step-father-in-law, 70-year-old David Brown, when Nicholles, from Clapham, yelled ‘you’re a grass’ at Mr John before pulling a blade out of his pocket.
Mr John, a digger driver of East Acton Lane, Acton, was found unconscious and blood soaked by a groundsman. He was airlifted to hospital but pronounced dead that evening.
A blood-stained black crucifix and a pair of blood-spattered Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses were recovered from the scene, and blood-stained trousers and shoes were recovered from Nicholles’ wardrobe.
Nicholles was convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder in April after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Jailing him for nine years Judge Deborah Taylor had told him: “There was no apparent motive for your attack on Peter John that day who you had not seen for some years prior to the funeral. Nevertheless you were heard to call him a grass, a term you used to describe people you disliked or disapproved of.
“The jury’s verdict of manslaughter in this case reflects the jury’s decision that in stabbing Peter John you realised you had caused him some harm but not intended to kill him or cause him really serious harm.”
However, at The Court of Appeal on Wednesday (June 17) Nicholles’ nine-year jail term was increased to 14 years after the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, appealed against the "unduly lenient" sentence.
The Solicitor General said: “John Nicholles took a knife to a family funeral and he used it to stab one of the mourners in a public cemetery, causing their death.
“He has previous convictions for possession of knives and offences of violence. He then disposed of his blood-soaked clothes and the knife has never been found.
"He showed no remorse. I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at this sentence as I felt that nine years failed to reflect the seriousness of what happened.
“My thoughts are with Mr John’s family and friends who are devastated by their loss. I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has found his sentence to be unduly lenient and raised it to 14 years and I hope this offers a degree of comfort to them.”