Two jailed for 'savage' gang attack on man

Melvyn Howe,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 04:59

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.