January 29 2015 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A man who was kicked in the head and knocked unconscious in an attack at a Norwich roller skating rink was protected from further harm by the bravery of a security guard who threw himself over the victim, a court has heard.
Daniel Francis, 20, and Darren Prescod, 19, were involved in the attack at Funky Monkeys, known as Funkys, during which the victim, Ian Goodwill, suffered a number of injuries, including a fractured eye socket and nose after being punched and kicked in the head by people wearing roller skates.
Francis, whose address was given in court as St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, and Prescod, whose address was given as Lakenham Road, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced following the incident at Funkys, off Vulcan Road, Norwich, in March last year.
Francis was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm and another count of affray following a trial in February and was sentenced to a total of 24 months in a young offenders’ institution (YOI).
Prescod, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of affray, was sentenced to 14 months in a young offenders’ institution.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Philip Curl, said he was satisfied both joined in the punching and kicking of Mr Goodwill as he lay on the floor and described the violence as so serious that immediate custody was the only appropriate punishment.
Judge Curl said: “In fact Goodwill took such a beating that the security officer very bravely threw himself over Mr Goodwill to protect him from further punishment.”
The judge added aggravating features of the offences included being in a public place where there were families with young children to whom it must have caused a “huge amount of anxiety”.
Guy Ayers, prosecuting, said the incident began following “some form of childish dispute” regarding mutual interest in a girl which started with a verbal altercation but escalated to violence.
He said Prescod “delivered the first blow” which started the violence but thereafter was a joint enterprise by the defendants whose attack on the “unfortunate” victim included the “use of feet to deliver a kick to the head” while wearing roller skates.
Michael Clare, mitigating for Prescod, said his client’s intention was to go to Funkys to skate not to look for trouble and asked that he be given some credit for his plea.
Mr Clare said this had been something of a “wake-up call” for Prescod who has realised “he’s been travelling in the wrong direction and intends to make changes to his life”.
Lindsay Cox, in mitigation for Francis, said it was not a sustained attack and referred the judge to a number of character references handed to the court on behalf of his client which spoke with “one voice” about a young man who devotes his time and energy to helping young people.
Mr Cox said there were “many people who look to Daniel Francis for some support and depend on him to a greater or lesser extent”.
One of those was his partner, who suffered a miscarriage earlier this year, who wrote to the court to explain the impact his conviction has had on him and others. She shouted out “I love you” as he was taken down.
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