COURT: Scarborough brothers threw man around 'like a rag doll' during vicious street attacks

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Two notorious Scarborough brothers threw a man around “like a rag doll” and then beat up his friend during a savage, unprovoked street attack.

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, York Crown Court heard.

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

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

The attacks took place in Queen Street, Scarborough.The attacks took place in Queen Street, Scarborough.
The attacks took place in Queen Street, Scarborough.

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

Punched and stamped

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

The victim was being “thrown around like a rag doll”, according to his friend who asked passers-by to call police but “shockingly no-one seemed to want to help”.

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Ben Smedley was jailed. His brother was given a suspended jail sentence.Ben Smedley was jailed. His brother was given a suspended jail sentence.
Ben Smedley was jailed. His brother was given a suspended jail sentence.

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

He made his way back towards his stricken friend, but the brothers came running back. He tried to run off, but the brothers chased him down and set upon him.

The victim fell to the ground as he scuffled with Gary Smedley, who was punching him in the ribs and face.

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

“Gary Smedley was holding him while Ben Smedley was attacking him,” said Mr Finlay.

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

The brothers eventually ran off with the victim’s phone, ostensibly to stop him calling police.

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Once they had gone, the victim went to check on his friend, who had been severely injured in the first assault and was “in a really bad way”.

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

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

It was initially 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 the cut and facial bruising.

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The other victim suffered lumps and tenderness to his head and “pounding” headaches.

Witnessed the attacks

CCTV footage showed the Smedley brothers chasing the victim. They were duly arrested and bailed.

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

The man, who was named in court, had given a statement to police but had “misgivings about doing so because of a fear of reprisals”.

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At about 10pm on March 12, he was walking along Queen Street when he heard his name being shouted by someone in a group of four men. Ben Smedley was among the group and told the man he was a “grass”, before threatening to “kick his door off”.

The man, who lived nearby and knew the Smedley brothers, returned home but then heard a “loud bang” and saw Ben Smedley repeatedly kicking the main entrance door to his block of flats before rushing into the building, followed by “somebody else”.

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

The victim was so frightened he jumped out of a window and ran to a local business to call police.

Denied the offences

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

They both initially denied the offences but ultimately pleaded guilty to all matters when the case reached court. They appeared for sentence via video link on Tuesday August 9.

The court heard that 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 wasn’t aware of any issues between them.

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Ben Smedley, of Albion Crescent, had 12 previous convictions for 21 offences including violence, witness intimidation, false imprisonment and a robbery in 2015 which resulted in a four-year jail sentence. He was also jailed in 2014 for carrying an offensive weapon.

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

Kevin Blount, for Gary Smedley, said his client had been drinking before the brutal assaults on the two friends and alcohol was behind “this offence and earlier offending”.

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

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Jailing Ben Smedley for three years, judge Simon Hickey described the attacks as “unprovoked and persistent”.

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