Scarborough pair jailed for 'wicked' attack on man lured to a flat and later assaulted

Ryan Gallagher, left, and Harry Soper.
Ryan Gallagher, left, and Harry Soper.

Two men have been jailed for a combined six years following a “wicked” attack on a man who was lured to a flat in Scarborough and subjected to a horrendous ordeal.

An audio recording of the vicious, “sustained” assault was played to York Crown Court in which the victim could be heard crying and begging the attackers to stop as he was punched, kicked and allegedly stamped on, after being knocked to the floor.

It’s believed the victim - who needed hospital treatment for cuts, bruises and a black eye - may have been attacked by up to five men, but it was 24-year-old Ryan Gallagher and his mate Harry Soper, 22, who were behind the attack, said prosecutor Michael Bosomworth.

Gallagher was also charged with possessing a disguised firearm after police discovered a Taser-type stun gun at the flat which was allegedly used as an “implicit threat” during the attack.

In the audio recording, which was taken from Soper’s mobile phone, someone in the flat was heard to shout, “Ryan, put it away”, which was understood to be a reference to Gallagher’s stun gun disguised as an iPhone or torch.

The court heard that the victim had been targeted because, according to Soper, he had been physically abusive to one of the defendant’s close family members.

Soper and Gallagher were arrested at the flat after the victim finally managed to escape and fled to a police station.

Gallagher, of no fixed address, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing a disguised firearm. Soper, of Coldyhill Lane, Newby, was charged with ABH.

Both defendants remained tight-lipped during police questioning but ultimately admitted all charges after the victim’s blood stains were found on their clothes.

Three other men brought in for questioning denied any involvement and were due to face trial, but this was ultimately abandoned.

Soper and Gallagher appeared for sentence on Friday with their fates already sealed, having been told by judge Sean Morris at a previous hearing that jail was inevitable.

The incident occurred at about 12.30am on September 30, 2017, after the victim, who was named in court, had been lured to the flat by Gallagher.

Mr Bosomworth said Gallagher “invited” the victim to his flat (but) “the Crown submit that the invitation was a pretext for getting (him to the flat) and wreaking revenge”.

Inside the flat, Gallagher, Soper and the victim were having a drink and nothing, initially, appeared untoward. But then Soper and Gallagher started “exchanging phone messages”.

“One of the phones was buzzing (and) Gallagher produced what looked like an iPhone, but it was in fact a Taser stun gun,” said Mr Bosomworth.

“It started buzzing and (Gallagher) said, ‘Look at this’. There does not appear to have been a direct threat with it (although) there may have been an implicit threat.”

He said the victim was suddenly set upon, possibly by as many as five men.

The victim said he was struck first by Gallagher and knocked to the floor, then attacked by others.

“He was repeatedly punched (and) hit on the floor,” said Mr Bosomworth. “He was put in a headlock by Gallagher and kicked (by others).”

“He said he was stamped upon,” added the prosecutor.

In the audio recording, someone in the flat can be heard to shout, “Let him go”.

One of the defendants, believed to be Soper, replies: “Not a chance.”

The victim is heard to cry: “I’ve had enough.”

Mr Bosomworth said there were “clearly more than two men involved”, but the Crown “had doubts” as to the extent of the others’ alleged involvement in the attack.

He said the victim’s injuries “were fortunately not as serious as one might expect, given the length of the attack and what (was heard on the audio recording)”.

Gallagher had previous convictions for threatening behaviour, assaulting a police officer, criminal damage, being drunk and disorderly and breaching court orders, as well as reprimands for battery.

Since the terrifying attack at the flat, he had been convicted of cannabis production.

Soper had previous convictions for threatening behaviour, obstructing a police officer, damaging property, being drunk and disorderly and aggravated vehicle-taking.

Judge Mr Morris said the incident at the flat was a “wicked case” and that the victim was clearly kicked in a “joint attack”.

Gallagher was jailed for three years and nine months. Soper was jailed for 27 months.