A YOUNG man was walking with his girlfriend in Coventry city centre when a gang of youths launched ‘a callous and utterly appalling attack’ on him.
He was kicked from behind, sending him to the ground, and as he tried to get to his feet he was forced up against a shop window where he was repeatedly punched and kicked.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court watched aghast as a CCTV recording of the mob attack was played, looking in disbelief between the screen and the three teenagers sitting in the dock.
Of the three, promising rugby player Aron Boakye pleaded guilty to robbing their victim, while Samuel Brefo and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted assaulting him.
Boakye (19) of Torrington Avenue, Coventry, was sentenced to two years and two months detention.
The 17-year-old, who also pleaded guilty to taking part in two robberies and an attempted robbery while on bail, was sent to detention for two years and eight months.
But Brefo (19) of Dunster Place, Coventry, was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years, a six-month curfew and was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Sharon Bahia said that on the afternoon of October 12 last year a young man and his girlfriend were in the city centre where he had used his phone for a video call.
They saw a group of youths, including the defendants, one of whom, thinking he had been recording them, demanded: “Delete that video of me.”
They had gone some distance when, as captured by a CCTV camera, the group of youths charged down the street in a pack and launched a vicious attack.
It knocked him into a parked car and to the ground and, as he got to his feet, fearing what would happen if he did not, they descended on him, forcing him up against a shop window and kicking and punching him.
His head was pulled down and he was kneed to the face by one of his attackers, as others tried to kick him to the face, and his bag, containing his phone, cash and other property, was pulled from him by Boakye before the group made off.
The victim, with his face covered in blood, was taken to hospital where he was found to have a broken nose.
Following the arrest of the defendants, they were granted bail, but in March and April the 17-year-old took part in two robberies in streets around the city centre.
In both cases the victims were grabbed and threatened and robbed at knifepoint of their bank cards which were then used to withdraw cash.
The youth was also involved in an attempted robbery in which the victim was grabbed as he walked through the subway at the end of Spon Street, with something sharp being pressed to his ribs, but got away after pointing out a nearby CCTV camera.
Nicola Purches, for Boakye, said: “He’s a very respectable young man. He cannot give any clue for what caused him to involve himself. He bitterly regrets his involvement.”
And Judge Andrew Lockhart commented: “When you read the reports on all of these young men, and then see the video, the contract is quite stark.”
The 17-year-old’s barrister said there was ‘absolutely nothing in his life,’ which centred on college, where he is said to be an excellent student, church and sport, to have predicted such behaviour, adding: “He resolves never to offend again.”
And Curtis Myrie, for Brefo, said: “This is not something he would ordinarily be doing. In a moment when he lost himself in the midst of the group, it was a decision he had never made before.”
Sentencing the three, Judge Lockhart told them: “I have seen a video of a vicious, callous and wholly appalling attack conducted in the centre of Coventry by all of you and others.
“He was chased after and kicked in the back and fell to the ground, and you, all of you, fell on him like a pack, kicking and beating him.
“Every one of you is responsible for every blow struck in this vicious joint attack, and you, Mr Boakye, as he lay on the ground in that vulnerable state, took his bag.”
Two other youths, aged 16 and 17, who took part should also have been in the dock – but a warrant had been issued for the arrest of one of them after he failed to turn up for a previous hearing, and Judge Lockhart issued a warrant for the other, who had claimed to be on his way to court but did not arrive.