Hostel attacker fails in bid to appeal jail sentence

St Andrews Tourist Hostel

A man jailed for brutally attacking a man in a hostel has failed in a bid to have his sentence reduced.

Jack Gren, 22, was handed a 32-month prison sentence after knocking Karol Labudda unconscious at the St Andrews Tourist Hostel on June 9. A sheriff said he would have been facing a murder charge had someone not intervened.

Gren admitted at Dundee Sheriff Court to repeatedly punching and kicking Mr Labudda, including while he was on the ground, before trying to strike him on the body with a knife.

But Gren failed at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to have his sentence reduced.

He and Mr Labudda were unknown to each other but met in the TV room of the hostel. Gren, of Glasgow, was staying there while working in the town. An argument broke out between Mr Labudda and another man, causing a brawl to erupt.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident which lasted almost 15 minutes. Gren got involved and attacked Mr Labudda, knocking him out.

He then left the room and returned with a five-inch kitchen knife and threatened to “butcher” Mr Labudda but was prevented from doing so by another man in the room.

Solicitor Ann Ritchie said: “The incident starts through Mr Gren trying to defuse a situation. Clearly that isn’t what happens thereafter. It’s clear from my dealings with him that he accepts full responsibility.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown said: “The only thing between him and the dock of the High Court charged with murder is the intervention of somebody else.

“If he had got to him with the knife, the complainer would have gone straight to the mortuary.”