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Three jailed for 'cowardly, violent attack'

Canterbury Crown Court, where Lee Delves' attackers were sentenced
Canterbury Crown Court, where Lee Delves' attackers were sentenced

Three drunken thugs who beat up and kicked a Herne Bay man after he confronted them about their yobbish behaviour, have been jailed for two years.

Lee Delves suffered multiple severe bruising and brain swelling.

Following the incident in Herne Bay last November, Mr Delves, 34, a driver, began suffering shaking attacks and subsequently had a car accident.

He is receiving on-going tests and is currently unfit to work, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

The three, all from Thanet, were seen fooling about with cars, running over car tops and shouting in the street, said Denzil Pugh, prosecuting,

Nicholas Pepper, 24, of Royal Close, Broadstairs; Benjamin Mendez, 23, of Ethelbert Road, Margate; and Mark Verier, 20, of Gordon Road, Cliftonville, all admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Pepper and Mendez will serve their sentences in prison, Verier will go to a young offenders’ institution.

Sentencing them, Judge Michael O’Sullivan said it had been a "cowardly violent attack."

Mr Delves was on his computer in his flat near the seafront when he was aware of the accused outside and went out to confront them.

“They’d had a huge amount to drink and probably been to a Chinese restaurant,” said Mr Pugh.

At one stage, Verier was leaning against Mr Delves’ car. By the time he reached the street, they had moved off towards the seafront and he followed demanding an explanation.

“He was met with violence and driven back by punches. He tried to punch back and took out a torch in an attempt to defend himself.

“He was driven back into a bollard while Verier jabbed at him with a pair of chopsticks.”

Mr Delves fell and once on the ground, couldn’t give any real account of what happened because he lost consciousness. A number of people who witnessed the attack spoke of him being kicked and hit until the defendants were pulled off him and the police arrived, said Mr Pugh.

Mr Delves staggered home then became aware his eight-year-old daughter had seen the incident. He didn’t think he needed medical treatment but the following afternoon went to hospital where he was vague about his identification and whether he was married.

When arrested, all the accused were volatile and Pepper spat at the police car window.

Pepper and Mendez said very little in interviews because of the amount they’d drunk but Verier said there had been a confrontation and claimed Mr Delves had swung a punch and they then used violence. He said he’d kicked Mr Delves in the stomach, not the head.

Tanya Robinson, for Pepper, conceded it was a disgraceful incident. Alcohol was his real problem but he had shown genuine remorse and shock for the injuries and was thoroughly ashamed of himself.

“He is realistic about the outcome and will have time to reflect and do some much needed growing up,” said Miss Robinson.

Catherine Donnolly, for Mendez, said he also had not tried to minimise his part and since the incident had served a short sentence which had brought about a changed attitude.

He now understood he had a problem with drink and also binged. He had a difficult past.

Speaking for Verier, Miss Donnolly described him as a vulnerable young man who suffered with ADHD and was being supported by a number of agencies. He had a very illogical and a more than chaotic way of thinking, said Miss Donnolly.

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