Grantham court: Work colleagues attack defenceless man on Christmas outing

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Two work colleagues on a Christmas outing joined in an assault on a defenceless man as he lay on the ground in a Grantham street.

Jess Croft, 22, of Gonerby Road, Grantham, and Michael Chaldecott, 19, of Chapel Street, Nottingham, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm in Wharf Road, Grantham, on December 20 last year.

Prosecuting, Jim Clare told the court that the victim had made a statement in which he said he had been out with friends and had left Faces nightclub at 4am to walk to his sister’s house where they were staying for the night.

Two unknown males on the other side of the road started shouting at them and then came over and one of them struck the victim in the mouth causing a cut. The victim said he backed off and feeling intimidated tried to get away but tripped and then was kicked about the head, body and legs by a group of four males.

The victim then said everything was a blur, but he and his friend had done nothing wrong and had not aggravated the situation.

Mr Clare said the victim suffered cuts and the back of his head was sore. The victim had said: “I am shocked at what happened and I will not be coming back to Grantham again.”

The court heard CCTV showed Croft going after the victim and then the two unknown males, one wearing a Father Christmas hat, close in on him and trip him up. The victim was kicked and punched while he lay on the floor defenceless.

Mr Clare said the two unidentified males were unknown to Croft and Chaldecott who were stopped by police a few minutes later. They told police the assault was down to their intoxication.

Simon Cobb, representing Croft, said his client was of previous good character. Walking home that night he and Chaldecott came across a group of five males, one of whom was the complainant. The group shouted abuse at Croft. This was witnessed by the two unknown males who shouted at the defendants to ‘sort them out’.

There was a confrontation and Croft received a black eye, although Mr Cobb says this was not necessarily caused by the complainant.

When the victim was tripped to the ground the two unidentfied males started to kick him and then Croft and Chaldecott joined in, but Mr Cobb said that in their view these were not the most violent of kicks.

Mr Cobb said Croft was “ashamed of what he had done and he offers no excuse whatsoever”. He had been disciplined by the building firm where he worked.

Stuart Wild, representing Chaldecott, said his client was a student at York university studying French and Business and doing part-time work at the building company. He said his client had accepted he kicked out but he did not think he had connected with the victim, although he accepts he was as culpable as the other three males.

Mr Wild said: “He has sullied his record. He accepts what he did was wrong and he penned a letter (of apology) to the victim.”

After watching CCTV of the incident the magistrates ordered the defendants to pay compensation of £250 each with £85 costs.