Warwick and Leamington men "very close" to being jailed after attack in 2017
A man who was brutally attacked as he and his partner walked home from a Warwick pub ended up with a shoe imprint on his face from where he had been stamped on.
But after a judge heard it was now more than two-and-a-half years since the incident, and the two attackers had not been in any further trouble, they escaped being jailed.
Zak Weston had pleaded guilty to the assault as long ago as September 2017, with Dorian Francis pleading guilty on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court, after originally denying the charge.
Francis (25) of Portobello Way, Warwick, was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
Weston (24) of Winslow Close, Leamington, who was given more credit for his earlier guilty plea, was sentenced to 16 months suspended for 12 months, with a rehabilitation activity.
In addition Judge Sylvia de Bertodano ordered Francis to pay £400 compensation and Weston £200 compensation to their victim Robert Turner.
Prosecutor Tim Sapwell said that in August 2016 Mr Turner and his partner went out for a meal at an Indian restaurant in Warwick, and then to the Elephant and Castle pub in Emscote Road.
While they were there, Francis and Weston arrived and, sitting at a nearby table, became ‘intrusive and aggressive,’ asking questions about their relationship.
The couple ignored them, and left to walk home, but the two defendants then also left, and Mr Turner began to feel uncomfortable that they were walking behind him and his partner.
So he stopped to light a cigarette, in the hope that they would carry on past, but instead Francis approached him and asked for a cigarette.
When he refused, Francis would not take no for an answer, and someone in a nearby flat saw one of the defendants punch Mr Turner, knocking him to the ground.
They then launched a joint attack on him, during which they kicked and stamped on his head, knocking him unconscious, and his partner was also struck as she tried to protect him.
When the witness ran outside to help Mr Turner, who had bruising and grazing and the imprint of a shoe on his face, his attackers ran off, and the police and an ambulance were called.
The defendants were not arrested until January 2017, and Weston said he had been very drunk, but claimed he would remember if he had beaten someone up, and blamed Francis
But Francis blamed Weston for the attack, claiming he had then tried to help Mr Turner who had pulled him down, at which he had acted in self-defence.
For Francis, Lee Masters said: “He still can’t understand how this came about. The only explanation is alcohol.
“He realises that alcohol consumption has brought him to this state of affairs and he’s beginning to address that problem. He hasn’t committed any further offences. It was a one-off event.”
Martin Groves, for Weston, said: “There have been mental health problems, and he would accept that at the time he was self-medicating, drinking too much and taking cocaine at weekends and cannabis every day.
“He can’t explain how he got himself into this situation. It’s not something he had ever been involved in before. He regrets his actions very much, he is sorry for what happened.”
Sentencing the two, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told them: “You are here finally to be dealt with for what happened a very long time ago. It is very unsatisfactory that you have had to wait this long to be dealt with.
“In the case of you Mr Francis, it is the fact that you pleaded not guilty that has contributed to that. Even so, it is unfortunate it has not been dealt with earlier.
“If you take a shod foot to someone’s head, you can cause them lifelong injuries.
"Both Mr Turner and the two of you are very fortunate that the injuries were not as serious as they might have been.
“You have been very close to going out of that door behind you. But given there has been such a long wait to get to this stage and that during that time you have kept yourselves out of trouble, I am not going to send you to prison today.”