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Gary Hoyles and daughter Kimberley, of Challock, sentenced for Sittingbourne park attack

A father and his teenage daughter launched a vicious attack on a former neighbour in a public park after they clashed in a row over a dog.

Children watched in terror as Kimberley Hoyles grabbed Louise Apps’ hair and struck her with a dog chain and her father Gary punched her in the face.

The victim lay helpless on the ground as the assault continued with kicks and the 49-year-old father using keys in his hand as a weapon.

Gary Hoyles. Picture: Kent Police.
Gary Hoyles. Picture: Kent Police.

Former hairdresser Miss Apps suffered a broken ring finger needing surgery during the violence in Woodcombe Park in Murston, Sittingbourne, on June 1 last year.

Gary Hoyles, formerly of Oak Road, Sittingbourne, was jailed for two years after a judge watched mobile phone footage of the incident.

Kimberley Hoyles, 18, was given a youth rehabilitation order with a 12-month supervision requirement. She will be subject to a tagged curfew from 7pm to 7am for three months.

The pair, now of Buck Street, Challock, Ashford, had previously admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Recorder Sarah Elliott QC told the father: “A serious aggravating feature is you were the parent and older person in this incident. Rather than encouraging your daughter to walk away, you actually escalated it and assaulted the victim in a far greater way.”

Maidstone Crown Court heard there was animosity between the three, who had previously been neighbours for two years

Miss Apps was in the park with her seven-year-old son, friend Courtnee Frost and her two children, aged one and five.

"He stabbed me in the back of my head with a key. I went fuzzy for a moment. I just remember trying to get myself back off the floor" - Louise Apps

She saw the Hoyles' bull mastiff dog holding a Collie by the scruff of its neck and she told Kimberley, then 17, it should be muzzled.

The teenager made a threat and left, but returned 10 minutes later with her father.

The father-of-three told Miss Apps he would "**** her over" before punching her in the face.

The mobile phone footage, showing the punch followed by screams, was watched in court.

Miss Apps was backed into a fence and attacked further. Her finger was fractured as she tried to protect herself. She also had a 1in cut to her scalp and a split ear.

The court heard Gary Hoyles had “covered” his house in CCTV cameras and posted footage on YouTube of incidents involving Miss Apps.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rosen said when police seized the dog lead it was covered in blood. The teenager admitted to her father she struck Miss Apps with it.

“There was a sustained or repeated assault, not a single kick or punch,” said Mr Rosen. “Louise Apps was left cowering and trying to protect herself from repeated punches and strikes from both of them.

After hearing evidence, Recorder Elliott said she was satisfied Gary Hoyles hit the victim more than once and used a bunch of keys as weapon.

Passing sentence, she said: “Anybody watching that footage would be shocked, seeing a man acting violently to a woman in a public place.”

Recorder Elliott said she was satisfied a youth rehabilitation order would be adequate punishment for Kimberley Hoyles.

She told Gary Hoyles: “This was a sustained assault in a public place in front of children. Only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”

An indefinite restraining order banning contact with the victim was made.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Ben Irwin, for Gary Hoyles, said his client was not a violent man and something must have happened for him to react as he did.

“He genuinely believed his daughter was about to come under attack,” said Mr Irwin. “He accepted he was in the wrong and behaved badly.

“I submit these are not serious injuries in the context of GBH. Had he been on his own it would plainly have been excessive self-defence. He completely got it wrong.

“There was provocation in an ongoing dispute between the parties. There was bad blood. This was a spur of the moment offence.

“He has moved away from Sittingbourne and lives in a different part of Kent. In the particular circumstances, he doesn’t need to go to prison today.”

Miss Apps told in evidence how the teenager had dragged her to the ground.

"Gary had a bunch of keys and was behind me, kicking me,” she said. “He stabbed me in the back of my head with a key.

"I went fuzzy for a moment. I just remember trying to get myself back off the floor.

"I was being struck all down my left side by Gary kicking me. Kimberley was pulling my hair and put her fingers in my ears and was scratching me. I was kicking my legs trying to get up."

She added that when the attack stopped, she ran for help.

Miss Apps denied she had been aggressive, grabbed Gary Hoyles' testicles or called his daughter a mongrel.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Phil Pead said: "This was a nasty attack by both Gary and Kimberley Hoyles which was witnessed by young children and escalated from a picnic in the park to their Mum being attacked.

"Gary should be ashamed at his behaviour. He should have set a good example for his daughter and not have encouraged this violent and wholly unacceptable attack.

"I hope that the outcome of this case serves as a reminder to others that they cannot engage in such behaviour without any consequences."

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