By Court Reporter 18/07 Updated: 20/07 08:22
A THUG from Rugby who twice stamped on his victim’s head after raining punches on him should not even have been out – because he was subject to an electronically-tagged curfew.
And at Warwick Crown Court Stuart Cunningham, 27, of Montgomery Drive, was jailed for a total of 18 months.
He had pleaded guilty to charges of assault and affray which he committed at a time when he was already subject to a suspended prison sentence for handling stolen goods.
Prosecutor Neil Bannister said that in February, Jamie Hanlon and two friends, Alex Coyle and Craig Smith, spent the evening and early hours of the morning at a house in Cawston.
They left at 3.30am to go back to Mr Coyle’s home, but were walking slowly because Mr Coyle was on crutches after an operation for a long-standing injury to his ankle.
As they neared his home they saw a taxi pull up on the opposite side of the road and a man and a woman next to it.
Mr Hanlon thought no more about it until he heard the man, Cunningham, shout out: "Why are you staring at me?"
The three friends were surprised because they had not been doing so, but Cunningham kept repeating his question and was told by Mr Coyle they had not been staring.
In response, Cunningham jogged over and dragged Mr Hanlon to the ground where he began raining punches down on his body.
As Mr Hanlon curled into a ball, Cunningham began circling round, punching him with force and then twice stamping on the side of his head - causing him to lose consciousness.
Cunningham then turned his attention to the other two friends, and in particular Alex Coyle, grabbing one of his crutches and saying ‘come on then'.
Mr Bannister said it almost caused Mr Coyle to fall to the ground, and he and his friend ‘ran for their lives’ back to Mr Coyle’s home.
Running as hard as he could, and having to ignore the pain to his ankle, they reached his home, only to then hear Cunningham shouting he knew where he lived.
The police were called and Mr Hanlon, a college student, was taken to hospital where he was treated for injuries to his right eye and head.
And Mr Coyle suffered tendon and ligament damage to his ankle while running away - setting his recovery back significantly.
When the police went to Cunningham’s home he jumped out of a window and ran off but was traced with the help of a police dog and the force helicopter.
He was arrested, but claimed the friends had been shouting abuses at him.
At the time, Cunningham, who had previous convictions for violence, was subject to a 40-week suspended prison sentence with an electronically-tagged curfew imposed just five weeks earlier for handling stolen goods.
Richard Holloway, defending, said Cunningham’s partner had been injured while she was out with friends and had come home with a broken collarbone.
So he had called a taxi to take her to hospital, which was why he was outside in breach of his curfew, and he believed the three friends were laughing at them – so decided ‘to get his retaliation in first.’
Cunningham was jailed for 40 weeks for the offences, consecutive to the 40-week suspended sentence which Recorder William Mousley QC had ordered him to serve.
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