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Sussex man who ran over wife with sandwich van fails in appeal
A debt-ridden gambling addict who tried to run his wife over in a stolen sandwich van, so he could cash in her life insurance, has failed to convince Appeal Court judges he was wrongly convicted or sentenced too harshly.
Scheming Martin Hewlett, formerly of Guildford Road, Tarring, Worthing, drove at Anne Dreisler as she cycled home from work in February 2008, knocking her down - then turned around and went back to hit her again.
She was left paralysed from the waist down and will have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, London's Criminal Appeal Court heard.
Hewlett, 45, was convicted of attempted murder at Lewes Crown Court in March this year and jailed for a life with a minimum of 17 years to serve.
Yesterday, his applications for permission to appeal against both conviction and sentence were refused by Judge Michael Findlay Baker QC, sitting alongside Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Jack at London's Criminal Appeal Court.
The judge told the court that the crime was calculated in the "most carefully and chillingly pre-meditated manner".
"Had the plan been successful, he would have sacrificed his wife and deprived his children of a mother, all for financial gain."
The court was told Hewlett had taken out substantial loans against the couple's house and a new life insurance policy, forging his wife's signature on the application forms in 2000.
However, his debts and the loans came to light in March 2007 and Ms Dreisler filed for divorce.
It was then that Hewlett removed his wife from the family car insurance policy, forcing her to cycle to and from work every day.
Then, just days before the final divorce hearing in February last year, Hewlett stole a Ford Transit van while its driver was delivering sandwiches and used it to run over Ms Dreisler as she returned from work.
Ms Dreisler, who now lives in Holland, spent three months in hospital, and is still in constant pain from her injuries, Judge Baker said.
After hearing argument from Hewlett's legal team, the judge ruled it "unarguable" that either his conviction was unsafe or his sentence too long.
He said: "This was a case based almost entirely on circumstantial evidence. No single element of that evidence was damning, but cumulatively presented a very convincing case indeed.
"The jury were fully entitled to find Hewlett guilty of attempted murder and the contrary is not arguable."
Turning to sentence, he said that the Crown Court judge's approach was "correct" and that "if he erred, it was not on the side of harshness."
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