Five men have been sentenced for their roles in the early morning ambush of a couple on a footpath in Haverhill following an incident at a town centre pub.
As the two victims walked home from The Woolpack on January 24 they were individually confronted, Ipswich Crown Court heard today (Thursday 17).
Casey Selman was attacked by three men, punched in the face and forced to the ground where he was kicked while unable to defend himself, said Charles Myatt, prosecuting.
Mr Selman’s girlfriend, Robyne Hudson was taken by the arm by another pair of men on the path near Wratting Road who began ‘walking her away’ from the scene of the attack.
Mr Myatt said that before she ran out into Wratting Road where she flagged down a passing car. Miss Hudson heard one of the group shout: “Rape her”, while someone else near to Mr Selman had shouted: “Cut him.” All five defendants denied shouting either statement.
Afterwards Mr Selman managed to alert a passing police van and that resulted in the five men being arrested shortly afterwards.
Before the court were Matthew Ashford, 22, of Aldham Court, Haverhill; Reece Dunkley, 22, of Harewood Terrace, Haverhill; Dominic Sebastiani, 23, of Princes Close, Balsham, Cameron Lovell, 22, of Greenwood Close, Haverhill and Matthew Batts, 23, of Ufford Place, Haverhill.
The court heard that Ashford, Dunkley and Sebastiani had confronted Mr Selman while Batts and Lovell had confronted Miss Hudson.
Mr Myatt said that before the incident on the footpath, Mr Selman had been involved in a brief incident inside The Woolpack which ended with him kissing Ashford on the neck.
At the time Ashford had claimed that he was not upset by what happened and bore no grudge against Mr Selman.
The attack on Mr Selman resulted in him sustaining facial abrasions, bruising, swelling and requiring dental treatment costing £1,654.
Sentencing the five men, Judge Martyn Levett told them: “There may be some who consider these to be minor public order offences but you are in danger of being labelled as thugs.”
Judge Levett said the two victims had been ‘effectively ambushed’ with the two groups of men approaching from opposite directions.
The incident in The Woolpack had been the reason for the ambush because Ashford had been feeling ‘humiliated’. Judge Levett told Ashford: “Supported by your confederates, your brothers in arms, you assaulted him.”
Ashford, Dunkley and Sebastiani, who had pleaded guilty to affray, were each sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid community work.
In addition, each will have to pay £400 compensation to Mr Selman and be subject to an overnight curfew for the next six months.
Batts and Lovell, who pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour, were each sentenced to an 18 month community order and told to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Levett said all five men will be prohibited from entering any premises with a licence to serve alcohol until March 1.