A gang of vigilante thugs who left a man brain damaged after beating him with a baseball bat have been put behind bars for a combined total of nearly 38 years.
The victim was left unconscious and close to death after the “appalling” attack, a court heard, after being set upon because he defied a warning not to be seen again in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Another victim was also injured during the fracas, suffering a 10cm wound on top of his head, HullLive reports.
George Halliday, 37, Jeremy Wilson-Wetherill, 44, Guy Saleh, 19, Ryan Cooper, 20, all from Bridlington, and a 17-year-old Bridlington youth, who cannot be named because of his age, all admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent during the horrific attack on August 15 last year.
Cooper also admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to a second victim.
The court was told all five were wearing disguises and Halliday had previously made a serious threat to the main victim.
Halliday was jailed for 10 years and nine months, Wilson-Wetherill for nine years and 10 months and Saleh for six years and nine months.
Cooper was sent to a young offenders’ institute for six years and the teenager was given four-and-a-half years’ detention.
Peter Byrne, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that the main victim visited Bridlington and went to a flat but his presence there became known to Halliday, who had warned what might happen to him if he was spotted again.
A group of five hooded or masked troublemakers went to the house after 7.30pm and Saleh kicked the door open and forced entry.
The victim escaped upstairs but was chased upstairs by Halliday, and was beaten with the baseball bat repeatedly during the two-minute attack.
He was left lying motionless, bleeding from his head and ears, before ambulance crews were alerted.
Paramedics rushed him to Hull Royal Infirmary unconscious, making incomprehensible noises, where doctors found he had suffered multiple fractures to the base of his skull and bleeding on the brain.
Doctors needed to feed him through a tube for months after the attack as his injuries were so severe.
Since then he has struggled with day-to-day life, often forgetting things, falling off balance, and now suffers from “night terrors” and anxiety.
He said: “It stops me going out.
“My life has not been easy. I am struggling to stay on my feet longer than 10 minutes.
“It is almost like being drunk. It stops me living a normal life.”
He added: “This has affected not only me but my family.”
Wilson-Wetherill and Saleh had convictions for assault, Halliday had been jailed for two-and-a-half years for wounding and had an assault conviction.
Cooper had a conviction for possessing an imitation firearm.
Sentencing, Judge John Thackray QC said: “It was an appalling group and armed attack which involved an element of trespass.
“It was almost certainly related to drugs. It was only good fortune that he survived. This could so easily have been a fatality.
“This was a pre-planned and premeditated attack in which all five of you played a significant role, either by inflicting injuries or adding to the force of numbers.
“Your attack has had a profound effect on him. It’s unlikely that he will fully recover. You were extremely close to causing his death.”
Cathy Kioko-Gilligan, mitigating, said Wilson-Wetherill claimed that he picked up a brick and wanted to scare the victim.
“He was not in possession of any weapons,” she said.
“This defendant bitterly regrets getting involved in a situation that he clearly did not know the full picture of.
“He met Halliday only that day. Halliday was a friend of one of his sons. Had he been fully aware, he would never have attended.
“When they did arrive, clearly the incident escalated. He has stayed out of trouble since and has turned his life around.”
Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, representing Saleh, said: “He apologises for his behaviour, which he has had much time to reflect upon. He is remorseful.”
She said, for Halliday: “He would wish to apologise. He is doing all he can to rehabilitate himself.”
Timothy Jacobs, representing Cooper, said: “He was very much at the tail end of what went on. He knows that what went on in that house was wholly unacceptable.”