Man who murdered in Plaistow will stay in jail

A Newham criminal who has served more than a decade in prison for the shooting of a man outside a Plaistow pub has failed in a bid for an early shot at parole.

Tony Argent, now 44, was convicted of the murder of Paul Edmonds at the Old Bailey in July 1999 and sentenced to at least 20 years behind bars.

But Argent, who had a reputation for violence in the East End, claimed the term was too tough and his progress in prison justified a cut in the term.

However, after considering the case at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said it might even have been longer if Argent was sentenced now.

Although no clear motive was ever identified, Argent and his victim were known to each other, both had substantial criminal records and had fallen out at the time of the crime.

Around 8.30pm on Sunday, November 1, 1998, undisguised, he blasted Mr Edmonds dead outside the busy Sultan pub in Grange Road, Plaistow, said the judge.

Appealing for a cut in his minimum term, Argent’s legal team said he had been suffering from a number of mental problems at the time, which he had been too embarrassed to mention.

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And since his conviction, he had shown genuine remorse, completed courses and raised money for charities, although he did not want to disclose any details.

But Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said Argent had been described as “highly dangerous”.

“In my judgment, the notified minimum term of 20 years was amply justified and, were the applicant being sentenced today, would be considerably higher,” he said. “I have also considered the representations and documents submitted on the applicant’s progress in custody.

“I do not consider that his progress approaches the “exceptional category” so as to justify a reduction in the minimum term.”

Argent will only be freed when he has served his minimum term if he can convince the Parole Board he is no longer a danger to the public.

He will then remain subject to licence conditions for the rest of his life, with the risk of immediate recall to prison if he puts a foot wrong.