A THUG who twice forcefully stamped on a Workington woman’s head in an unprovoked street attack has had his jail term almost doubled by Appeal Court judges.

John Ian Pullin, 34, who was a stranger to his victim, subjected her to horrific and unprovoked violence outside Workington bus station after he accidentally almost bumped into her while running along the street.

His violence was so extreme that the judge who sentenced him remarked that the victim was fortunate not to have been killed.

She was saved from further extreme violence thanks to the bravery of two bus company workers who intervened to drag Pullin away as he tried to continue his ferocious assault on his unconscious victim.

At Carlisle Crown Court in April, a judge jailed Pullin, from Birks Road Cleator Moor, for three years and eight months.

'Unduly lenient'

But Crown Prosecution Service officials in the Northwest referred that sentence to the Attorney General’s Office, arguing that the sentence was unduly lenient. The Attorney General in turn referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

After hearing the details of the case, Appeal Court judges ruled that the original sentence was indeed too lenient and increased it to seven years and one month.

They also imposed a four year 'extended licence' period, meaning that Pullin will remain at risk of recall to prison for a total period of 11 years.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Peter Connick said the woman was walking to Workington's bus station at 4.45pm on March 3, wearing her headphones and pulling a suitcase when Pullin almost ran into her.

She had to jump out of the way.

He immediately stopped and accused her of trying to trip him, yelling abuse and threats, and saying he would 'reshape her jaw'. He then threw her suitcase into the road. The woman ignored him but decided to call the police.

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Keeping him in her sight, she rang the police from outside Workington Bus Station in Murray Road. But Pullin saw her doing this.

The next thing she remembered, said Mr Connick, was waking up on the ground.

'Extreme level of violence'

CCTV images showed Pullin running up to her, grabbing her hair, and flinging her to the ground. While she lay sprawled unconscious in the road, he stamped on her head and body, and swung her suitcase, hitting her with it.

He continued the attack, throwing the woman's phone at her and stamping forcefully on her face. The violence was ended thanks to the intervention of two bus company workers who dragged Pullin away.


Defence lawyer Sean Harkin that that Pullin, whose 103 convictions include 15 offences of violence, had never previously been responsible for such an extreme level of violence.

The court heard that the victim sustained severe facial swelling, a possible nose fracture and a broken thumb. In the weeks after the attack, she suffered nightmares and post-traumatic stress.

Recorder Julian Shaw described the attack as 'sickening', telling Pullin: "It's miraculous [the victim] didn't sustain truly horrific injuries as a result of your assault, which was completely without any basis and unprovoked.


"You are extremely fortunate, young man, that you didn't kill that woman and then stand before this court facing a far graver charge."

In his police interview, Pullin expressed no remorse and criticised the police for in his view failing to do enough to investigate a 'domestic' he had been involved with.

Detective Constable Olivia Foster thanked the victim for her bravery and also commended the two Stagecoach staff who acted “with great courage” as they stepped in to attempt to prevent Pullin from continuing his assault.

In an earlier unrelated case, Pullin’s defence barrister said he struggled with his mental health and actually felt “safer in custody.”

'We had concerns about the sentence'

A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “CPS North West had concerns that the sentence he had been given was potentially unduly lenient.

"We therefore referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office who in turn referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

“The Court of Appeal concluded that the sentence was undoubtedly unduly lenient.

"They quashed the previous sentence and increased it to seven years and one month imprisonment with a four year extended licence.

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