A TEENAGER who was living in Crewe when he was part of a gang jailed for life for kicking father-of-three Garry Newlove to death in front of his daughters has had his appeal against conviction and sentence thrown out.

Adam Swellings was living in Meredith Street, when Mr Newlove, 47, was attacked after he confronted a gang of vandals in August 2007. He died two days later.

Swellings, 19, Stephen Sorton, 17, and Jordan Cunliffe, 16, were convicted of murder by a majority verdict at Chester Crown Court on January 16 this year Swellings was sentenced to serve a minimum 17 years behind bars, whilst Sorton, of Honister Street, Warrington, was ordered to serve at least 15 years and Cunliffe, of Rowland Close, Warrington, was handed at least 12 years.

Today Swellings failed to persuade top judges - Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Mr Justice Beatson and Judge Peter Jacobs - to overturn his murder conviction, and also had a challenge to his sentence dismissed.

But the judges, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court agreed to reduce Sorton's minimum term from 15 to 13 years.

Allowing Sorton's appeal, Lord Justice Moore-Bick said that the Crown Court judge had not given him enough credit for his young age - he was just 16 at the time of the murder - and his lack of specific intent to kill Mr Newlove.

The appeal judge said: "A minimum term of 15 years means that he will have spent the whole of his life as a young adult in custody.

"The judge concluded that this appellant was one of the leaders of the group, but we are satisfied that the judge didn't allow sufficient credit for the mitigation.

"A minimum term of 15 years is too long, putting this appellant too high in comparison to his co-accused. The minimum term will be reduced from 15 years to 13 years and, to that extent, this appeal is allowed," the judge concluded.

Refusing Swellings' sentence appeal earlier the judge said: "Although this attack was not pre-planned or premeditated, because all of the defendants had been involved as a gang in street violence earlier that evening, it cannot be regarded as unforeseen.

"The sentencing judge was deeply impressed by the horrific nature of what occurred.

"The attack was carried out by a group of men against a single victim and they continued to be aggressive after he had been rendered incapable and the attack was carried out in front of his daughters.

"This was a concerted attack by a group of young men who were roaming the streets looking to commit violence against anyone who offended them."

Swellings' conviction appeal - on the basis that he had not been involved in the murder as a joint enterprise - was also thrown out, as was an argument that evidence of three street attacks on other teenagers the gang had carried out the same evening should not have been put before the jury.

The judge ruled that that "bad character evidence" was "clearly relevant to the issues" in the case and was legitimately put before the jurors.

"Swellings and his co-accused were acting as an aggressive gang and it would have been wrong for the judge to have excluded that fact from the jury's considerations," concluded Lord Justice Moore-Bick.