Hotel robber is freed

A KNIFE-WIELDING robber who terrorised a female hotel night porter has been released just 20 months into his five-year sentence.

A KNIFE-WIELDING robber who terrorised a female hotel night porter has been released just 20 months into his five-year sentence. Jamie Ogier, who was 21 when, in 2002, he took more than £1,300 from the Peninsula Hotel at knifepoint, was let out of prison on parole earlier this month.

More than £1,000 was never recovered and the receptionist he confronted, Beatrice Aegerter, then 34, returned to her native Switzerland after the incident.

Crime Prevention Panel chairman Paul Elliott was anxious that punishment should be sufficient to convince people not to reoffend.

'The panel does not comment on individual cases but we would be very concerned if someone reoffended after having their punishment significantly reduced,' he said.

But hotel manager Susan Becker, who was the deputy manager at the time of the robbery, said that everyone deserved a second chance.

'If he's learnt something from his experience and has come out with a positive attitude, then it's a good thing - hopefully he has.'

She said that the crime was a shock.

'It's not the sort of thing that you expect in Guernsey at all. People were a bit surprised and shocked.'

A spokesman for the Parole Review Committee, which is understood to have recommended Ogier's release earlier this month, said that it had a policy not to comment on whether a person had applied for parole.

Ogier was sentenced to five years in prison by the Royal Court in November 2002.

His sentence started from 21 July 2002 when he was taken into custody.

A prisoner can be released on parole after serving one third or 10 months of their sentence, whichever is greater, and only on sentences longer than 15 months.

Ogier had served a third of his 60-month sentence.

A Probation Service spokesman said that a host of conditions had to be followed under the parole licence. If these were broken, the person could go back to prison.

Offenders before the criminal court in Guernsey are also automatically granted one-third off their sentence, which can be added on again if they do not follow prison discipline.

Miss Aegerter had already handed in her notice at the hotel before the robbery, which happened in the early hours of 21 July 2002.

Ogier, who had been drinking and was on prescription drugs that night, was holding a nine-inch kitchen knife at waist height and ordered her to open the safe.

Miss Aegerter is believed not to have returned to the island.

Victim Support scheme manager Claire Pearce said that it would inform victims in the island when offenders were released.

'Obviously, with Guernsey being a small island, when there is early release from prison, it can be difficult. It's quite easy to just walk down the street and see somebody. But generally Probation liaises with Victim Support when prisoners are being released, particularly with early release and more serious offences.'

She said that it was Victim Support's national policy not to comment on the sentencing of offenders.