A pair of thugs who battered a Canterbury greengrocer have been jailed.
Ishtiaq Ahmed suffered a broken jaw in the attack outside his St Dunstan’s Street shop last year, leaving him in pain for months and needing a metal plate in his face.
Canterbury Crown Court heard the 43-year-old dad was attacked after he confronted a group of drunk men who were throwing produce about.
Recorder Charles George QC told the men responsible, Nigel Leader and Scott Seabrook, that their behaviour had been outrageous.
“I have no doubt that you are both genuinely remorseful,” Recorder George said.
“But when grown men are out on a Saturday afternoon in the street, completely drunk, and cause violence to a shopkeeper, breaking his jaw, it seems to me there would be public outrage if such people did not go to prison and serve a sentence.
“To pass a suspended sentence is not appropriate.”
Seabrook, 36, from Bexley, had admitted causing Mr Ahmed grievous harm without intent. He was jailed for 12 months.
"When grown men are out in the street, completely drunk, and cause violence to a shopkeeper, breaking his jaw, it seems to me there would be public outrage if such people did not go to prison..." - Recorder Charles George QC
Leader, 45, from Greenwich, had denied the same offence and was convicted by a jury after a trial. He was jailed for 18 months.
Prosecutor Simon Taylor said that Mr Ahmed and his wife were at their Garden of England shop on the afternoon of September 27.
Mrs Ahmed was on the till when CCTV cameras showed a group of men throwing fruit outside the shop. She asked them to stop and they ignored her.
“Her shouts were heard by her husband who came out and asked them to stop,” Mr Taylor said. “Mr Ahmed was struck from behind and received a number of punches.
“A witness saw Mr Ahmed bleeding from the mouth with one of the men’s arms around his neck.”
Mr Taylor said Leader and Seabrook came forward after media appeals.
Matthew Hardyman, defending Seabrook, said he admitted punching Mr Ahmed and causing his injury.
“He perceived seeing Leader in an altercation and ran up to help,” Mr Hardyman said.
“He was with a group of friends in Canterbury, thought his friend needed assistance and punched Mr Ahmed. He played no part in throwing the fruit. He went to help but made matters a whole lot worse.”
Mr Hardyman said Seabrook was a hard working man with an impeccable work record and no previous convictions. The offence was out of character.
“He has genuine remorse and is ashamed and disgusted by this,” Mr Hardyman said.
Oliver Snowden, defending Leader, said this was his first violent offence and his actions were out of character.
“It wasn’t a blow from Leader which caused the injury but because of the conviction by the jury he must accept the part he played,” Mr Snowden said.
He said Leader had always worked until recently when he had to give up his job because of his deteriorating eyesight, for which he was under the care of Moorfields Hospital.
Shortly after the attack, Mr Ahmed told KentOnline: “They were throwing things about outside and all I tried to do was stop it.
“They were being idiots and swearing and then suddenly I felt a punch to the side of the head.
“This is a nice area and I’ve never had anything like this before in 10 years.”