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Pair locked up for vicious street attack and robbery

Victim: Sam Eastwell
Victim: Sam Eastwell
Jailed: Grant Vanscolina (left) and Aidan Shepherd
Jailed: Grant Vanscolina (left) and Aidan Shepherd

Two teenage thugs who attacked 17-year-old Sam Eastwell and left him "to die alone in the rain" will serve a minimum of four years each in jail.

Grant Vanscolina, of Pegwell Road, Ramsgate, and Aidan Shepherd, of Hereson Road, Ramsgate, were sentenced by a judge at Canterbury Crown Court for the brutal attack on August 6 last year.

Both pleaded guilty to robbery and wounding with intent.

Sam suffered serious head injuries when he was repeatedly clubbed using a lump of wood and a pick-axe handle as he sat on a park bench in the town's Albion Place listening to music.

He was robbed of £75, two gold rings and his mobile phone and MP3 player, which his attackers, both aged 17, sold for just a couple of pounds.

The teenager underwent a number of life-saving brain operations and remained in a critical condition in hospital for the next two weeks.

After sentencing, Sam's distraught mother Sharon said: "It's been extremely upsetting having to relive all this again in court, dragging the family and in particular Sam through the horrors we faced."

More than 80 officers from east Kent and Kent Police's Major Crime Unit were drafted in to hunt for the attackers.

Det Ins Andy Somerville, who led Kent Police's investigation, said: "The defendants callously boasted about their actions, effectively ruined their own future prospects, caused untold misery and distress to their families and will spend a significant proportion of their lives in prison."

Vanscolina and Shepherd were given indeterminate sentences - but Judge Adele Williams ordered they must serve a minimum of four years, less 148 days served on remand, before being considered for parole.

On press applications to be allowed to name the youngsters reponsible, including from the KM Group, Canterbury Crown Court ruled that because of the serious nature of the offences the balance fell in favour of the restriction being lifted.

Judge Williams said the defendants were caught up in a frenzy of violence but accepted they had shown remorse and had spent time in custody constructively.

She added: "At the time, each was living a selfish and unfocused life because each was obsessed with the use of cannabis."

Peter Forbes, for Shepherd, acknowledged it was a gravely serious and shocking incident but insisted Shepherd had not meant to cause such serious injury.

The sobering court appearance and reality of a custodial sentence had matured him significantly, he added.

Peter Alcock, for Vanscolina, said his client also expressed remorse and shame and said the offence was wholly out of character.

He explained Vanscolina wanted to do what he could to lead a law-abiding life in the future.

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