Man jailed for 'sickening' Whitby street attack which left victim blinded in one eye
A boxer was blinded in one eye during a mass brawl in Whitby likened to a “scene out of the Wild West”.
In scenes of “sickening” violence, a group of about 10 men fought a running street battle in front of horrified tourists on the Whitby seafront as women screamed and terrified families and young children were “frozen” with fear, York Crown Court heard.
In the thick of the drink-fuelled melee was 32-year-old Ross Jameson, who landed a mighty blow on the named victim, who was immediately rendered blind in one eye, said prosecutor Brooke Morrison.
One man was hit repeatedly over the head with a shop or pub advertising board amid a flurry of punches and grappling.
Cars driving along the seafront had to swerve away from the drunken mob and some were momentarily stranded as the two warring groups “criss-crossed” the road from one end to the other as men were being knocked to the ground.
One of them fell onto one of the cars.
The violence began when Jameson and his mates, who were on a stag do and pub crawl, passed the other group and Jameson “jokingly” started hitting one of them over the head with
an inflatable guitar.
The group, including the man thought to be a boxer, took exception to this and retaliated, prompting a massive punch-up.
The victim was punched in the side of the face by Jameson as someone shouted that he was a “professional boxer”.
Jameson then lunged at him and punched him in the eye, causing him to “immediately lose his sight”, which became permanent loss of vision.
Miss Morrison said the victim now only had partial or tunnel vision in his right eye.
Jameson then punched the victim’s friend from behind as he tried to walk away.
This victim was also attacked by one of Jameson’s mates, who was named in court but is yet to be sentenced.
The named victim had also been “clobbered” with the advertising board.
He suffered a black eye, bruising and swelling to his head, a burst blood vessel and cuts to his lips which had to be stitched.
Police later tracked down Jameson and his friend, who were the two main protagonists, and arrested them following evidence provided by a man who had filmed the violence on his mobile phone.
Miss Morrison said tourists and families were visibly shocked by the violence on ‘Whitby Front’ which was teeming with visitors and cars which came to a standstill, their paths blocked by
Jameson’s group followed the other group along the seafront as the victims and their friends finally tried to get away.
Jameson, of Lawson Close, Middlesbrough, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and affray.
He ultimately admitted all three offences and appeared for sentence on Friday.
The court heard that parents were having to steer their children away from the violence and turn off the promenade.
One of the victims, a company director, said he had been left in “severe pain” and had been taking medication since the incident on January 11 last year.
He had turned into a “bit of a recluse” because he was scared to venture out for fear of being attacked again.
He had to take time off work following the “deeply disturbing” incident.
Jameson had nine previous convictions for offences including threatening and disorderly behaviour, assaulting a police officer and acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.
Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, conceded that the violence was an “atrocious incident” of which Jameson was “ashamed”.
He accepted that Jameson, a scaffolder, had started the violence by “acting like a buffoon” with the inflatable guitar.
Judge Sean Morris said the “explosion of violence…in one of the most important tourist attractions in Yorkshire” was like a “scene out of the Wild West”.
He had noted the young couple “cowering on a corner” as a “group of drunken men (were) criss-crossing the road, beating the hell out of each other, using shop signs or pub signs to belt people over the head”.
“One young couple with a young child were frozen to the spot for a considerable amount of time,” added Mr Morris.
“Women were screaming; men were shouting.
"It must have been heard from across the harbour.
"It was a scene of sickening violence.”
He told Jameson: “In the course of that melee you punched a man to the eye and he was immediately, permanently blinded.
“This was sustained violence and it would have caused serious fear and distress to people including children.
"The whole end of that (part of) town came to a halt.”
Jameson was jailed for two years and nine months.
His co-defendant was due to be sentenced on the same day but could not attend court due to health reasons.