Teenagers jailed for 'random' bus attack

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The Independent Online

Two teenagers have been jailed after leaving an innocent man with a fractured skull during a random attack on a bus.

Paul Gaskell, 25, was punched and kicked and his head was stamped on during the five-minute assault.

Mr Gaskell, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was left with a broken jaw and fractured skull and now suffers severe headaches.

He also lost his job as a cleaner due to time off work caused by his injuries, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.

Mr Gaskell was minding his own business on the top deck of a bus when confronted by Michael Aspin, 18, his accomplice Joshua Sumner-Stagg, 18, and another youth who cannot be named because he is only 17.

Aspin had no fewer than 49 previous offences on his record while the other two also had previous convictions.

The three teenagers got on the bus going through Oldham at around 10.45pm on January 18 this year when Aspin instantly harassed his victim for cigarettes or "burn", which is slang for cannabis.

When Mr Gaskell told them he did not smoke, Aspin responded by punching his victim in the face.

Because Mr Gaskell tried to defend himself, all three dragged him to the floor, punching and kicking him.

The victim had his head repeatedly stamped on, causing the fracture to his skull.

Mr Gaskell eventually escaped and all three offenders then got off the bus - laughing as they went. They were later identified and arrested by police.

Passing sentence, Judge Leslie Newton said: "This was a vicious, sustained attack, involving kicking and stamping on the victim, leading to serious injuries."

Aspin, of Derwent Drive, Shaw, Oldham, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced to four years in a young offenders institute.

Sumner-Stagg, of Suffolk Street, Werneth, Oldham, and the 17-year-old boy both pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm.

Sumner-Stagg was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders institute while the 17-year-old was sentenced to a two-year community order and given a six-month curfew.

Detective Constable Ian Webb said: "This was a random and violent attack on a man who was doing nothing other than minding his own business, trying to get home on the bus.

"Unfortunately he was joined by a group of thugs apparently intent on causing trouble. The level of assault was sickening with repeated stamps to the victim's head while he was on the floor.

"The severity of this assault has been reflected in today's sentence and I hope this will now help the victim move on from this appalling incident."