Two jailed for 'savage' gang attack on man

Two thugs were jailed today after a "savage" gang attack on a man trying to stop a Chinese barman being racially abused.











Civil servant Paul Edmunds never stood a chance as he was first glassed in the face, scarring him for life, and then battered unconscious in a Piccadilly nightclub.



When he came round, bloodied and bruised, he was outside being tended by a member of staff.



The defendants were the only two to be charged, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.



Grant Williams, 22, who was convicted both of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and causing grievous bodily harm, burst into tears and mouthed "sorry" to his family as he was jailed for five years.



Co-defendant Kerry Watts, 23, was found guilty on the grievous bodily harm count and got 15 months.



Sentencing, Judge Gregory Stone told the pair, from Worcester Park, Surrey: "Mr Edmunds was a civil servant working for the MoD, out for the evening with his then girlfriend, and to end up with having a wine glass in his eye and being savagely beaten up was quite unacceptable.



"You two are both from good families who have a huge quantity of good character and I am not surprised that your families are in despair at the position you put yourselves in."



The judge said CCTV footage of the assault clearly showed Williams launching the "unprovoked" attack but first emptying his glass "so he didn't get hit with the contents and jerk his head away and make you miss.



"You aimed for his face and left eye. It seems to me he was probably saved by his glasses from losing his eye."



Within seconds of the blow being struck, Watts joined in with a "blow of immense power before hitting him again with a left and right of enormous force.



"Then there was the group attack. He was overwhelmed by four or five people and down he went. They were all around kicking him and punching him.



"This was a ferocious attack. He was temporarily unconscious and he was certainly pouring with blood."



The judge said that in addition his nose was "comprehensively broken", he suffered cuts to the inside of his mouth and was covered in bruises.



"It was utterly uncalled for. It was a violent incident that came from nowhere with no possible justification," he added.



The six-day trial heard Mr Edmunds and his civil servant girlfriend had been enjoying the evening at Strawberry Moons when he noticed up to half a dozen men taunting the barman.



"He had been cornered into an area and was being made to recite orders from a Chinese takeaway and there were various racially aggravated comments made to him," Mr Edmunds recalled.



Realising the man was "very uncomfortable" with what was happening, "I said to one of the guys on the edge of the group I thought he had had enough and should be allowed to move away".



But, he explained, his intervention did not go down well.



"Shortly after that somebody else in the group said to me, 'Have you come all the way round here just to say that?' It was clear there was antagonism towards me."



Minutes later Williams glassed him before "somebody hit me over the back of the head quite hard shortly afterwards.



"There was a sequence of blows. There were five or six involved in punching and kicking me.



"I was standing up until eventually I must have lost consciousness, but there was probably a period of time where I was being hit from all sides," said Mr Edmunds.



He added that apart from considerable pain and severe bruising, the attack had disrupted his work and left a legacy of sleeplessness, headaches, hour-long episodes of "haziness" and a sense of discomfort in crowded areas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project