Knifeman who changed name to Jack Bauer has sentence slashed

JAILED: Jack Bauer, formerly Carl Ennis
JAILED: Jack Bauer, formerly Carl Ennis

A knifeman who changed his name to Jack Bauer to honour his TV hero has had his sentence for slashing a taxi driver’s neck reduced by top judges.

The 26-year-old, formerly Carl Ennis, was jailed for 16 months at Newcastle Crown Court last month for the attack on David Pearson.

Bauer donned dark and padded clothing before attacking Mr Pearson as he drove him on the Felling Bypass, in Gateshead, last November.

He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon last year.

But today, after an appeal by his lawyers, three senior judges in London said Bauer’s 16-month term was too long and slashed it to a year.

The decision means Bauer, who has already served about two-and-a-half months, will be freed on licence after only six months inside.

The Court of Appeal heard Bauer, of Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, had been drinking heavily on the night of the attack.

He dressed in dark clothing and foreshadowed the attack in a chilling question to his girlfriend: ‘Would you still love me if I hurt someone and got arrested?’

He then went out, taking a flick knife and baton with him.

He caught a taxi and directed Mr Pearson to Newcastle, where, Bauer claimed, he had been invited to a fancy dress party.

However, as he drove along the bypass in Gateshead, Mr Pearson felt something sharp pressing at his neck and realised his passenger had a knife.

He wrestled free, stopped the car and ran off terrified. He had suffered a three-inch cut to the side of his neck.

After his arrest, Bauer was unable to provide any explanation for his actions.

He had suffered with depression, but had not taken his medication - although he had not done anything remotely similar before.

Today, his barrister, Joe Hedworth, argued before Lord Justice McCombe, Mr Justice Nicol and Judge Stephen Kramer QC that the 16-month sentence was ‘excessive’.

The sentence could have been suspended or now cut to a length which would allow Bauer to be freed immediately, he said.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Nicol said a bid for immediate release was ‘over-ambitious’.

‘There were the aggravating features in this case that the victim had been exposed by his job as a taxi driver and he had been badly scared,’ he continued.

‘The weapon was a flick knife, which Jack Bauer had taken with him when he went out dressed in the way he was and with the rather chilling intention that he declared to his girlfriend.

‘The judge had, however, to take into account his good record and his mental health difficulties. And we are told that he is now back on his medication.

‘The judge also had to take account of the fact that this offending was entirely out of character.

‘He had binged on alcohol in the past, but he had never, as a result, got into trouble.’

The sentence was cut to 12 months, of which Bauer has to serve half before release on licence.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he had taken the name - a reference to Kiefer Sutherland’s character in the series 24 - several years ago.