The unprecedented national lockdown announced in March 2020 led to court buildings being shut down for the vast majority of cases and jury trials being suspended..
Video links were eventually set up for remote hearings where possible, until normal business gradually resumed as restrictions eased.
Sentencing hearings were prioritised even during ‘hard’ lockdown, however, to ensure the judicial system did not grind to a complete halt.
Of the defendants who were jailed for serious crimes during that time, many are yet to see life post-lockdown due to being behind bars, unless they have been allowed out on day release.
These are some of the criminals who were handed sentences at Bristol Crown Court of at least several years, between the end of March 2020 and the start of July 2020.
You can read more about why we publish defendants’ names and addresses here.
John Rodney, eight years
A man who ‘recklessly’ infected three women with HIV after playing ‘Russian roulette’ with their lives was jailed for eight years in April 2020.
John Rodney, from Swindon, tested positive for the virus in August 2013 but continued to have unprotected sex with women for several years.
When sentencing the 60-year-old at Bristol Crown Court, the judge said what he had done was “unforgivable” as it was revealed one of the women had since died.
Samuel Van-Meir, eight years
A man who got his big brother to help wield machetes and threaten a group of men outside a Bristol shop was jailed in April 2020.
Samuel Van-Meir was also sentenced for a terrifying attack on his wheelchair-bound neighbour in his own home, which saw the amputee tied up, gagged and punched in a failed search for money.
The court heard CCTV showed the incident unfold at around 10.20pm on the night of Friday, November 30, 2018.
Judge Paul Lambert sentenced him to 12 months for possessing a machete and for affray, and a total of seven years for the robbery.
Robert Hanson, four years
A Bristol primary school teacher who had sex with a girl aged 14 was jailed for four years in April 2020.
Bristol Crown Court heard how Robert Hanson was a Year 4 teacher at West Town Lane Primary School in Brislington.
After meeting the teenager at a gaming fair, they chatted online before he bought her a child’s rail ticket for her to visit him overnight.
The 29-year-old, of Pencoed in Bridgend, pleaded guilty to grooming and having sexual activity with a child when he was aged 27.
Earlier this month he was banned from teaching indefinitely.
Michael Murray, nine years
A man who followed a teenage girl off a bus and then attacked and raped her was jailed after he admitted the charge.
Michael Murray was described in April 2020 as a “dangerous man”, by the judge who sentenced him to nine years in prison and six years on an extended licence.
Bristol Crown Court heard the 29-year-old, of no fixed address, followed his victim off the bus when it stopped in Stapleton Road in Easton in January 2020.
Mohamed Diallo, six years
Police who busted into a flat in Bristol found a “crack cocaine factory”, a court heard.
Mohamed Diallo was reluctant to open the door when officers arrived at the first floor premises in Latimer Close, Brislington.
Bristol Crown Court heard despite his efforts to prevent entry they got in and used a stun device on him as he tried to discard evidence.
The 30-year-old, whose address was given as Greenways in Kingswood, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and production of crack cocaine on January 21. He also admitted possessing criminal property.
Judge Martin Picton jailed him for six years during a sentencing hearing in May 2020.
Krystian Czelewicz, eight years, eight months
A third person was jailed in June 2020 for killing a Bristol man.
Krystian Czelewicz, 37, was absent from the UK at the end of 2019 when a trial took place into the death of Lukasz Grabowski in Gloucester in 2018.
The trained cage fighter was arrested in Calais in March under a European Arrest Warrant and returned to England to face the charge.
On March 16 he pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Bristol Crown Court and was remanded in custody. The Honourable Mr Justice Neil Garnham jailed him for eight years and eight months.
He told Czelewicz: “This was a sustained and vicious assault by the three of you on one man.
“You gave Mr Grabowski a severe beating.”
Mark Viner, 69 months
Mark Viner, 62, was extradited from his Barcelona home to face justice in relation to a sex den in Cheltenham.
An investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit led to three people, including Viner, admitting offences linked to the enterprise.
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Bristol Crown Court heard how foreign women were being brought into the UK via Bristol to be exploited, between January 2016 and December 2018.
The prosecution told the court Viner rented out a flat as a brothel – charging £80 a day or £500 a week to sex workers for the privilege.
Judge William Hart jailed him for 69 months during a sentencing hearing in June 2020.
Aden Mohamoud, 12 years minimum
A killer who inflicted a “vicious and brutal attack” on a defenceless man in Easton was jailed for life at the start of July 2020.
Aden Mohamoud attacked dad-of-three Dego Ahmed after a drinking session on October 22, 2019.
Bristol Crown Court heard how he struck him to the ground before delivering multiple stamps to his head.
Mr Ahmed, 39, suffered multiple fractures to his skull, face and jaw and was put in an induced coma but died in hospital on November 6.
Mohamoud, 43, of Stapleton Road in Bristol, pleaded guilty to murder. The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC imposed a life sentence with a minimum jail term of 12 years, one month, less the 256 days Mohamoud he spent remanded in custody.