Scarborough thug jailed for 'sickening' town-centre attack which left man, 66, with broken thigh and unable to speak

A drunken Scarborough thug has been jailed for nearly three years after launching a sickening street attack on an elderly man which left him with a "life-changing" injury.

Ben Collins, inset, has been jailed after he attacked a 66-year-old man in Scarborough town centre.
Ben Collins, inset, has been jailed after he attacked a 66-year-old man in Scarborough town centre.

Ben Collins, 21, was also high on cocaine when he walked up to the 66-year-old and landed a mighty blow to his head, knocking him off his feet, York Crown Court heard.

The victim, who was named in court, fell forward straight to the ground, head-first, and suffered a broken thigh bone.

There then appeared to be some kind of struggle on the ground but it was not picked up on CCTV, said prosecutor Michael Cahill.

CCTV captures Ben Collins, in the light-coloured clothing, walking off in the direction of Westborough after the sickening attack. (Photo: North Yorkshire Police)

Collins was pulled off the victim by another man and walked off down a side street.

The victim was taken to hospital following the unprovoked attack and remained there for 12 days. He had to have emergency hip surgery and intense rehabilitation and he now suffered from crippling mobility problems and was reliant on others for help with day-to-day tasks.

CCTV footage showed Collins, who had only been released from prison the day before the incident, walking off down a side street following the bank holiday attack in North Street at about 12.45am on May 29.

The victim was laid out on the ground, not moving, added Mr Cahill.

Ben Collins, 21, was jailed after his sickening attack on an elderly man left them with a "life-changing" injury.

Police were alerted to the incident by CCTV operators at Scarborough Council.

When an officer arrived, the victim was so dazed and in so much pain he couldn’t even speak. He tried to get up but couldn’t.

Collins, of Royal Crescent Lane, was later arrested after being identified from the CCTV footage.

He ultimately admitted that he had carried out the attack but went on to deny an allegation of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The 66-year-old victim was left on the floor outside the NCP car park on North Street with a broken thigh bone.

Collins, who has ADHD, finally pleaded guilty to GBH without intent to cause serious harm when he appeared before the court via video link on Friday. This plea was accepted by the Crown.

Mr Cahill said Collins had been in prison for assaulting police officers and was on prison licence following his release from custody. After being released, he went out drinking with a family member.

Mr Cahill said the CCTV operator said the footage showed "a man being approached by two males (and being) assaulted by one of the males".

A police constable found the victim lying in the street in front of the NCP car park in North Street. An ambulance was called and took him to hospital where he was given emergency hip surgery.

The court heard that the victim had been enjoying a drink in a nearby pub and was making his way home when the attack occurred.

Collins said he had drunk a litre-bottle of vodka and taken two grammes of cocaine before the attack and had little recollection of the incident.

When shown CCTV footage, he said: "Oh my God, I’m going to kill myself. He’s 60 years’ old."

He asked police to apologise to the victim on his behalf.

The victim said: "It’s changed my whole life and made me dependent on others, something I have never been before."

Collins had already racked up 24 previous convictions for 80 offences, many for assaulting police staff.

David Camidge, mitigating, said that, according to Collins, there was a "brief drunken exchange of words" with the victim before he attacked him and that they were "swearing at each other".

He said Collins was from a "very good family" but had mental-health problems.

Judge Simon Hickey said the "vulnerable" victim had suffered a "life-changing injury in the twilight of his life" due to the "unprovoked" attack and "heavy" punch.

Jailing Collins for two years and eight months, the judge said the physical effects on the victim might well be permanent.