Violent attackers who left man unconscious in Bristol city centre are jailed
THREE yobs have been jailed after leaving a man unconscious in an unprovoked street attack in Bristol city centre.
Victim David McGrath was punched by Russell Bennett and Billy Hartrey before being kicked in the head by Anton Blanco as he lay on the pavement in Park Street.
Bristol Crown Court heard the men had been out on a Saturday night "looking for a fight" before the motiveless assault on Mr McGrath, who had been out with a female friend.
The friend, who witnessed the attack, said the force of the kick made an "audible sound" and caused Mr McGrath's head to turn from one direction to another.
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He had to pay a £1,127 dentistry bill after being left with broken teeth, and also suffered cuts and bruising to his face.
The violence was captured on CCTV and the footage was played to Judge Simon Darwell-Smith, who jailed Blanco for 12 months and Bennett and Hartrey for nine months each.
Blanco, 21, of Bower Ashton Terrace, Ashton; Bennett, 18, of Summer Hill, Totterdown, and Hartrey, 19, of Green Street, Totterdown, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Robert Reid, prosecuting, said the attack took place on the corner of Park Street and Park Street Avenue in the early hours of January 28.
He said Mr McGrath's friend watched as the three men made "rude comments" towards him before surrounding him. Mr Reid said the friend then noticed Mr McGrath hold up his arms to indicate he wouldn't retaliate to the first two blows struck.
But he then delivered two punches in self-defence before the fight died down.
Mr Reid said the assault was re-ignited when blows were struck by Blanco and Bennett to the back of his head.
At this point, Hartrey weighed in with a punch which caused Mr McGrath to fall to the ground. While laying prone on the pavement, Blanco kicked him in the head with "significant force", the court was told.
Members of the public tried to intervene before police arrived and arrested the men following a chase. Officers had to strike Hartrey's legs with a batten to bring him under control.
In his victim statement, Mr McGrath said: "Since the attack, I've lost a lot of confidence when approached by groups of males and feel quite vulnerable."
In interview, Blanco said the fight had started after Mr McGrath had argued with Hartrey.
Jason Taylor, defending Blanco, who was on licence from prison when the attack was carried out, said: "He is desperately ashamed of what he did that night. He has not committed offences of violence before."
Nicholas O'Brien, defending Bennett, said the blow his client struck did not appear to have caused any harm. He said: "He has for many years gone out on weekend evenings and has never been involved in any violence or fights at all."
Dianne Heys, defending Hartrey, said: "He said he didn't spark the incident but did become involved."