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Gang leader Sean Nugent jailed after series of degrading attacks on epilepsy sufferer Timothy Smith

By Paul Hooper
Sean Nugent, jailed for vicious attack
Sean Nugent, jailed for vicious attack

The leader of a gang carried out a “degrading, sadistic and vindictive” attack on a man suffering from a rare form of epilepsy.

The group of five stormed the Ramsgate home of 31-year-old Timothy Smith, who is battling Schizencephaly.

And over a weekend, vile thug Sean Nugent - who was the victim’s next door neighbour – carried out a series of attacks.

The 26-year-old bully claimed the vulnerable Mr Smith, who has learning difficulties, had “set them up” before smashing his fist into his face up to three times.

Then he headbutted his terrified victim before fellow thug Lucy Burton, a 34-year-old mother of four, called him “a lying filthy scumbag” and then punched him three or four more times.

Nearby was her lover Richard McDonough, a 44-year-old with “horrendous previous convictions” who was part of the group – the two others have never been identified.

Prosecutor John Fitzgerald told Canterbury Crown Court that Mr Smith’s ordeal was only just beginning.

The gang left the injured victim on his sofa and he was so frightened that he locked his door and refused to go out all the next day.

Then on Sunday April 22 the five returned to Mr Smith’s home in Trafalgar Mews and “escorted” him next door to Trafalgar Hotel where Nugent had a flat.

Once inside, the frightened Mr Smith was beaten up again – and “curled up into a ball to protect himself, “ said Mr Fitzgerald.

It was then that Nugent, who had been armed with an axe, revealed a sinister plot to force his victim into performing a disgusting sex act with a coffee pot – and then the gang leader planned to make a false rape allegation.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The prosecutor said that once again Mr Smith was returned to his home – only to be woken up on the Monday morning by Nugent banging on his door and demanding £40 cash.

Two of the gang then took Mr Smith to an ATM at a nearby supermarket to withdraw the cash after Nugent threatened that if he didn’t obey his home would be burned down.

The ordeal only ended when estate agent Paul Hughes later arrived at Mr Smith's flat and realised his friend was in trouble and called his family and the police.

Nugent, who has since moved to Northants, was jailed for 43 months after admitting two assaults, possessing an offensive weapon and robbery.

McDonough, of Edgar Road, Cliftonville, was jailed for 19-and-a-half months after admitting two assault charges.

Burton, who now lives in Addington Street, Ramsgate was given the same jail term only it was suspended for 18 months. She was also placed under partial house arrest for the next four months.

“This was a vindictive attack on a next door neighbour, someone who was defenceless and it was a repeated assault and some of it quite sadistic and degrading” - Recorder Neil Saunders

Oliver Kirk, defending, said Nugent carried out the attacks because he felt “jealous anger” when he saw Mr Smith talking to one of his ex lovers.

McDonough, who has received 30 years in jail sentences during his criminal career,and Burton laughed and joked with each other during the sentence hearing.

The judge told they had showed no “obvious signs” of remorse for their attacks.

Tom Dunn for Burton said she was a drug addict who injected herself with amphetamines and when her two youngest children were taken into care “it had an incalculable devastating emotional effect” on her.

But the judge Recorder Neil Saunders told them their victim, who hadn’t suffered many attacks prior to his ordeal, has now suffered several seizures in the aftermath.

Mr Smith, in his Victim Impact Statement, said he had been left deeply traumatised and suffered nightmares and flashbacks.

“He has had to leave his home and return to live with his parents. He is frightened of being alone and scared of making new friends.

"He describes it this way: ‘This incident that I have been subjected to has completely destroyed what little confidence I have. I now have problems with trust and no confidence in my own self esteem’, “ he added.

The judge told Nugent: “This was a vindictive attack on a next door neighbour, someone who was defenceless and it was a repeated assault and some of it quite sadistic and degrading.”

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