Pizza shop attackers spared jail despite judge saying they deserved to be locked up

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

TWO teenagers who viciously kicked a pizza shop customer in the head while he lay defenceless on the ground have narrowly avoided being locked up.

A judge said Daniel Sinclair and Adam Donley deserved to go to jail for the attack on Ian Jones outside Olivito’s takeaway in Hartlepool’s York Road.

Mr Jones suffered injuries that were “truly horrible”, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He was attacked by Sinclair and Donley, both 19, after a late-night altercation inside the pizza shop that was started by Sinclair.

It then spilled out on to the street when Mr Jones was left bloodied and bruised after being punched and kicked while on the ground.

The incident started when Sinclair kissed Mr Jones on the head while he and friend Michael Craney were sitting inside the takeaway, leading to Sinclair and Jones throwing punches and wrestling with each other.

All four men left the shop, but the violence continued outside.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said: “The girlfriend of Michael Craney described seeing both defendants kick Mr Jones when he was on the ground and bleeding profusely.

“The defendants made off and were arrested by police close by.”

Mr Jones suffered bruising to his face and a fractured nose.

His blood was found on both the defendants’ trainers.

Sinclair and Donley admitted actual bodily harm.

Jim Withyman, mitigating for window cleaner Donley, said: “He entered the pizza establishment in drink but he wasn’t looking for trouble.

“He is very apologetic and realises the consequences could have been more serious.”

Ian Mullarkey, for Sinclair, said it was his “drunken stupidity” that led him to the attack. It was out of character. He was intoxicated and regrets deeply becoming involved in this incident.”

Unemployed Sinclair, of Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, was given 10-months detention suspended for two years with six months supervision and 150 hours unpaid work.

Donley, of Ventnor Avenue, Hartlepool, was given eight months suspended for two years, also with six months supervision and 120 hours community work.

The judge accepted that Donley tried to calm things down inside the shop, but said once outside he joined in the attack with pal Sinclair.

Judge Gillian Matthews said: “When you kick a man in the head or to the body when he is prone on the ground you deserve to go to prison.

“The injuries are not as serious as they could have been but do involve a fracture to the nose, and the photographs of the complainant are truly horrible.”

But she added: “You deserve a sentence of imprisonment and there will be one, but I’m not prepared to give up on you quite yet therefore I will suspend the sentence.”