Man who twice won appeals against murder convictions is jailed over knife and rolling pin attack

Sean Hoy pictured in 1997 after he was cleared of murder. Picture: TSPL
Sean Hoy pictured in 1997 after he was cleared of murder. Picture: TSPL
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A MAN who once made legal history by winning appeals against two murder convictions has been jailed for six years for a “disturbing level of violence” in a knife attack.

Sean Hoy, 42, forced his way into a flat in Granton Crescent, Edinburgh, and struck Edward Lenyatsa repeatedly with a rolling pin and a knife, inflicting multiple injuries to the face, neck and body, and robbed him of a television and stand.

He claimed he had been owed money.

In 1995, Hoy was jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering David Sproule, 29, in a brawl outside a pub in West Granton Road, Edinburgh.

The victim was stabbed nine times in the neck and suffered 20 blows to the head from punching, kicking and stamping. A second man was convicted of assault.

The Court of Criminal Appeal ruled Hoy had suffered a miscarriage of justice and allowed a retrial.

At the second trial, he was again convicted and given a life sentence. Again, he won an appeal and the Crown wanted to stage a third trial but this time the appeal judges refused to sanction a fresh prosecution, and Hoy was freed.

In the new case, Hoy admitted assaulting Mr Lenyatsa to the danger of his life on 20 April this year.

The defence solicitor-advocate, Brian Gilfedder, told the High Court in Edinburgh that Hoy had been drinking and the alcohol had influenced his judgment.

In his teens, he had suffered brain damage in an assault and it stifll affected him, added Mr Gilfedder.

The judge, Lord Pentland, told Hoy: “You have pleaded guilty to a serious offence in which you used weapons and displayed a disturbing level of violence. The victim impact information makes it clear that the physical and psychological effects of the attack on the victim have been severe and lasting.”

The jail term would have been eight years, but could be discounted because Hoy had pleaded guilty, added the judge, who also imposed four years’ supervision at the end of the sentence “for the protection of the public.”