Rag doll

COURT: Scarborough brothers threw man ‘like a rag doll’ in vicious street attacks

Ben Smedley, 25, and Gary Smedley, 27, pounced on the two friends in Queen Street, dragging one out of his van and chasing the other down the street, the Crown Court heard of York.

The two victims, who were named in court and known to their attackers, had arranged to meet at the Boyes store but when they arrived in their vans the Smedley brothers were there spoiling a fight, the prosecutor said Andrew Finley.

The victims got out of their vans and were chatting when Gary Smedley, followed closely by his younger brother, suddenly came “charging around the corner” towards them.

The attacks took place on Queen Street in Scarborough.

One of the victims told his friend to get back in his van, but the Smedley brothers “launched” into his vehicle before he could close the door.

They then dragged him out of the vehicle onto the ground where they repeatedly punched and stomped him, before throwing him back inside the van.

The victim was “thrown everywhere like a rag doll”, according to his friend who asked passersby to call the police but “surprisingly, no one seemed to want to help him”.

Ben Smedley was imprisoned. Her brother was given a suspended prison sentence.

He walked away to call the police, but when he looked back the Smedleys appeared to have fled, Mr Finlay said.

He returned to his injured friend, but the brothers came running back. He tried to run away, but the brothers chased him and threw themselves on him.

The victim fell to the ground as he brawled with Gary Smedley, who punched him in the ribs and face.

Ben Smedley then joined in, repeatedly kicking the victim in the head with rigger boots and punching him in the nose and mouth “with force”.

“Gary Smedley held him down while Ben Smedley attacked him,” Mr Finlay said.

“He remembers curling up in a ball trying to protect himself.”

The brothers ended up making off with the victim’s phone, apparently to stop him from calling the police.

Once they left, the victim went to see his friend, who had been seriously injured in the first attack and was “in a very bad state”.

“He was bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears and (his friend) thought he was unconscious,” Mr Finlay added.

“He couldn’t breathe properly and when the ambulance arrived he couldn’t even speak.”

It was first suspected that he had broken his nose, but it turned out to be a bad cut. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for a cut and bruises on his face.

The other victim suffered from bumps and tenderness in the head and “throbbing” headaches.

CCTV footage showed the Smedley brothers chasing the victim. They were duly arrested and released on bail.

But in March this year a man who witnessed the attacks was targeted by Ben Smedley in an act of witness intimidation, Mr Finlay said.

The man, who was named in court, had given a statement to the police but was “reluctant to do so for fear of reprisals”.

At around 10 p.m. on March 12, he was walking along Queen Street when he heard his name shouted by someone from a group of four men. Ben Smedley was among the group and told the man he was “weed”, before threatening to “break down his door”.

The man, who lived nearby and knew the Smedley brothers, returned home but then heard a ‘loud bang’ and saw Ben Smedley repeatedly knocking on the main front door of his building before rushing in the building, followed by “someone else”.

CCTV footage showed the communal door being kicked open before Smedley entered the lobby. He was then “led out” of the building by the other man who had followed him.

The victim was so scared that she jumped out of the window and ran to a local business to call the police.

The Smedley brothers have each been charged with two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm in connection with the drunken attacks on the two friends on June 18 last year. Ben Smedley was also charged with witness intimidation and damaging the common door in relation to the third victim.

They both initially denied the offenses but eventually pleaded guilty on all counts when the case came to court. They appeared for sentencing via video link on Tuesday, August 9.

The court heard the brothers had a ‘beef’ with one of the assault victims ‘for about eight months’, but the attacks were unprovoked and the other victim said he didn’t was aware of any problem between them.

Ben Smedley, of Albion Crescent, had 12 previous convictions for 21 offenses including violence, intimidation of witnesses, forcible confinement and a robbery in 2015, which resulted in a four-year prison sentence. He was also imprisoned in 2014 for carrying an offensive weapon.

Gary Smedley, of Queens Terrace, had 13 previous convictions for 17 offenses including assault and battery. He had also served four years in prison for a robbery.

Kevin Blount, for Gary Smedley, said his client had been drinking prior to the brutal assaults on the two friends and that alcohol was the cause of “this offense and previous offences”.

Eddison Flint, for Ben Smedley, said his client was “extremely drunk” when he broke into the witness’ house.

Jailing Ben Smedley for three years, Judge Simon Hickey called the attacks “unprovoked and persistent”.

Gary Smedley was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence with 150 hours of unpaid work and up to 25 days of rehabilitation activities.