Three drunken thugs who launched a sustained and unprovoked assault on a Good Samaritan have avoided jail.
Daniel Coffey, Rhys Morgan-Smith and Adam Whiteside all admitted a joint enterprise charge of actual bodily harm at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.
Justices heard victim Dylan Norris twice needed surgery to a broken finger, which is still not fully functional, and that he has been so depressed since that he even contemplated suicide. He was also left too afraid to leave home, has had to take time off work following last September’s attack and as a result has fallen into debt.
Prosecuting, Glenn Anderton said Mr Norris, who had been to a nightclub with friends, approached 19-year-old Coffey as he lay on the ground outside on Railway Road, Leigh, to see if he was all right.
Coffey didn’t answer but as he stood up he was verbally abusive and started pushing the victim and punching him.
He thought he had managed to calm him down and thought he was going to give him a hug but instead he picked him up and body-slammed him to the floor. Coffey repeatedly punched him over his body. Mr Norris put his hands up to protect his head.”
The victim sought refugein a nearby taxi office to get his finger, which was at a 90 degree angle, re-set. But he then saw Coffey with 19-year-olds Morgan-Smith and Whitside trying to lure him back outside to fight.
Mr Anderton said: “One of the two males who had joined in the attack went into the taxi rank premises and bear-hugged him and tried to remove him. Mr Norris managed to stop this but was then assaulted by one of the other males. Again, as a result of this he was punched in the face and his nose started to bleed.”
Mr said CCTV footage - stills from which were printed in the local media when police appealed for information - showed Whiteside punching Mr Norris in the ribs and Morgan-Smith punching him in the face.
Whiteside, who told police the group had drunk “10 or 11 vodka red bulls” each, admitted his part in the attack, stating Coffey was on the floor “messing about” when his friends pretended to kick him in a playful way. At this point, Mr Norris went over to check on Coffey who mistakenly assumed it was he who had kicked him.
Defending Coffey, of Wash Lane, Leigh, Estelle Parkhouse said her client had sent a letter of apology to the victim. She said: “Since his arrest he’s sought to change the behaviour that has brought him before the court.”
Bob Toppin, defending Morgan-Smith of Byron Street, Leigh and Whiteside, of Ennerdale Road, Tyldesley, said: “I don’t know how you measure remorse but I can offer it in bucketfuls. I don’t wish to place all the blame on Mr Coffey but it’s quite clear he is the main instigator.”
Magistrates handed Coffey a 26-week jail sentence suspended for 18 months and Morgan-Smith and Whiteside were given a 20-week sentence, also suspended for 18 months. Coffey was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation, £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge as well as completing 200 hours’ unpaid work. His accomplices must pay £750 compensation, £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge and complete 150 hours’ unpaid work each.