TWO teenagers have been locked-up for ‘a gratuitous, cowardly and savage attack’ on a man they left for dead in Heckmondwike town centre.
Ryan Jones and Ben Haynes, both 17, were sentenced to a total of 17 years after admitting causing grevious bodily harm with intent.
The pair attacked 35-year-old Kevin Wood during the early hours of October 16, 2010, leaving him with a fractured skull and brain damage, then ran off and left him for dead.
Leeds Crown Court heard the boys also tried to convince friends to lie to police and Jones even punched himself in the face to cover his tracks.
Their victim was left unconscious on the floor, with his dog waiting at his side, for more than seven hours until a passer-by alerted the emergency services.
Mr Wood has been left with brain injuries so severe that he cannot walk and can only utter the word ‘mum’. He is likely to be permanently dependent on his family for the rest of his life.
Jones, of Holme Street, Littletown, and Haynes, of Well Street, Liversedge, had been drinking lager and vodka the previous afternoon, before failing to get into a house party at around midnight.
The pair were joined by four other friends and congregated near the Lidl car park, in Northgate, when Mr Wood came into view with his dog.
Mr Wood, whose arm was in a plastic cast and had a metal plate in it from a previous injury, was drinking from a bottle of beer when the group began laughing at him.
Jones and Haynes then launched their attack on Mr Wood, with Jones striking first with a blow to the neck, before Haynes joined in with punches and helped wrestle their victim to the floor.
The two boys kicked and stamped on Mr Wood, despite pleas from their four friends to walk away. They both admitted the charge at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing the pair, Recorder Richard Mansel said it was ‘pure chance’ that Mr Wood was found before he died in the alleyway. He described the attack as gratuitous, cowardly and savage.
“It’s perfectly clear that, at the time you aimed those kicks or punches or stamps, you intended to cause serious injury to Mr Wood and that is what you did,” he said. “By leaving this man unconscious on the ground in a location where it was unlikely he would be found, you effectively left him for dead. You callously and selfishly deprived him of the chance to make a better recovery than he has.
“You have ruined this man’s life. His 14-year-old daughter has been deprived of a father she knows and his mother will have to sell her own home to pay for his care in the future.”
Lawyers for the boys read out statements to the court, where they both expressed remorse over the attack.
Jones’s letter read: “I cannot pretend to imagine the impact on Mr Wood’s life but I think about him every day and will do for the rest of my life.”
Jones was sentenced to eight years and Haynes received a nine year sentence.