Two men in their 20s have been jailed after carrying out a vicious revenge attacks using bicycle saddles on a man they wrongly believed to have assaulted them earlier in the night.
Densville Clarke, 24, and Jeffrey Virtue, 25, were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (August 9) having pleaded guilty to one count of Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and one count of Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH).
The “shocking” assault on “completely innocent bystanders” happened in the early hours of June 10, 2017.
Clarke and Virtue walked passed a bus stop in Bristol city centre where Mr Reece Pellowe sat after a night out with friends.
The men mistook Mr Pellowe as one of a group of people who had attacked them while they were on a bus earlier in the evening.
Mr Pellowe was in the Ramshackle nightclub where he spent the evening from 11.30pm when the earlier incident took place.
CCTV of the attack shows the two assailants walking passed the bus stop on Penn Street. A witness at the bus stop heard one of the men say, “that’s him isn’t it?” The other replied “No”.
Both Clarke and Virtue continue walking but the video shows them stop, turn and run towards the bus shelter and begin ferociously beating Mr Pellowe.
The men each had a bicycle saddle and pole attached with which they caused injuries to the victims head and neck.
A woman named Emma Fear who was on the bus stop with Mr Pellowe tried to intervene to stop the attack. Miss Fear held Mr Pellowe’s head, which is said to have been pouring with blood, to her stomach to stop the men landing any more blows.
However, this did not immediately deter the men and Miss Fear sustained fractures to her wrist and finger after being hit by the weapons.
In total, the attack lasts around 20 seconds after which the men ran off in the direction of Castle Park. The police were called and they were soon located and arrested.
Following the attack over two years ago both Mr Pellowe and Miss Fear have described losing confidence and being scared to go out at night.
Prosecutor Mr Kenneth Bell said: “Miss Fear was very brave to step in and try to prevent the attack. Thinking her presence would stop them, but it didn’t.
“Mr Pellowe remembers little of the attack just extreme pain and sitting in a crouched position, he believes he lost consciousness at one point and the next thing he can remember is seeing paramedics. He had five skull lacerations and bruising to his neck and back.”
His Honour Judge Hart said: “Unsurprisingly, this violence, committed out of the blue, in a public place, has had a significant impact on their psychological well being.”
Defending Virtue, barrister Michael Hall said the actions of his client that night were completely out of character and that he has shown sincere remorse for what he has done.
“He reacted with shock at seeing the photographs of the victims’ injuries and said he feels ashamed,” said Mr Hall who described his client as a hard working carpenter.
Virtue’s criminal record includes possession of cocaine with intent to supply for which he served time in prison. However the judge took into account none of his previous offences had involved violence.
Mr Rodney Wilson defending Clarke said: “He’s genuinely remorseful and has taken positive steps in his life. He rarely enters the city centre now and avoids the town centre and has also drastically reduced his alcohol intake.”
Mr Wilson also told the court his client is the full-time carer of his mother who is wheelchair bound and has been since age 13.
His previous convictions include robbery which he committed as a young teenager. The judge took into account that he has not been in trouble with the law since.
Both lawyers asked the judge to impose suspended sentences on their clients however Judge Hart said he believed the crime warranted jail time.
Judge Hart said: “Why you did what you did is because you had been assaulted on a bus by a group of people earlier on in the night. You came across Mr Pellowe and genuinely believed he was one of the group and so you attacked.
“If I was taking the most critical view though, I would say it was a revenge attack. It was completely unprovoked in terms of these victims but it was a response to what happened to you before which you should’ve reported to the police and allowed them to deal with it.
“Given this sort of street violence I believe the public would be outraged if there wasn’t a custodial sentence,” he said.
Virtue and Clarke were sentenced to 15 months in prison for count one of ABH and 26 months for count two of GBH to run concurrently.
They will serve half their 26 month sentence in custody and then be let out to serve the remainder of their sentence on licence.
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