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Brothers' heads cracked open in attack in Herne Bay

A hooligan cracked open the heads of two brothers during a violent gang attack - leaving one with haunting flashbacks.

Luke Smith, 23, beat Ryan and Rhys Tait with a baton outside their grandmother’s home after the pair left Herne Bay’s Vivid nightclub.

Canterbury Crown Court heard the duo were being assaulted by a seven-strong gang when Smith weighed in with the weapon.

Canterbury Crown Court (15561042)
Canterbury Crown Court (15561042)

Ryan required 13 staples to his head to help repair a 6cm wound and Rhys was treated for a 10cm laceration on his scalp.

Prosecutor Tom Dunn added: “Ryan Tait was talking to a friend when a group of seven people started shouting; it appears they were trying to start fighting with the person Rhys was talking to

“Rhys pushed his friend away then one male punched Rhys in the face. Door staff escorted the victims away from the area and to their grandmother’s house.

“As they arrived they noticed the group had followed them.”

Mr Dunn said a brawl erupted and one eyewitness recalled Smith striking the brothers five or six times to the head with the baton, until being pulled off.

Although the brothers were unable to remember the number of strikes, Judge Catherine Brown deemed the attacks “sustained”.

However, they were discharged from the QEQM Hospital hours after being admitted and did not require follow up appointments, the judge was told.

The court heard Smith became embroiled in the row during the early hours of September 2 last year.

Smith, of Bay Mews in Herne Bay, was convicted of two counts of unlawful wounding and one of possessing an offensive weapon.

The ex-McDonald’s worker was jailed for two years, but the sentence was suspended for two years.

The court heard Rhys told officers shortly after the attack that he keeps replaying the image of his brother being struck.

Judge Brown told Smith, an aspiring lorry driver, she suspended his sentence because it is his first violent offence.

He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

“You need to understand that if you commit an offence or breach the order, then the sentence can be brought into effect in whole or in part,” she added.

Mitigating, Phil Rowley said Smith was young, remorseful, had no previous convictions for violence and a stable home life.

“He recognises (his behaviour) was thoroughly ill judged and ill-conceived,” he added.

Both victims were left in fear of leaving the house, with their grandmother frightened the gang would return.

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