Brawlers sentenced for late night fracas

AN IPSWICH man has been sentenced for his part in a late night brawl in Stowmarket.Lee Jones, of Richmond Road, kicked a man in the face while he was lying on the ground, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

AN IPSWICH man has been sentenced for his part in a late night brawl in Stowmarket.

Lee Jones, of Richmond Road, kicked a man in the face while he was lying on the ground, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Peter Fenn, prosecuting, said the fight broke out between a group of about 12 men in High Street, Stowmarket.

He said the fight started after Jones and a Justin Sheriff began arguing.

Police officers stood between the men, but Sheriff pushed past and punched Jones in the face.

Mr Fenn said: "That was the spark which seemed to ignite the whole group into what can only be described as a brawl."

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The court heard that a father and daughter feared for their safety and sought refuge in a fast food shop where they watched the unfolding mayhem.

A woman police officer tried to break up the fight and was punched in the face so she used CS gas and sprayed it as a warning to the men, said Mr Fenn.

Another police officer saw Jones kick a Mark Battey two times in the face when he was on the ground. Jones denied the allegation, but admitted kicking Battey in the back.

Mr Fenn said the police officers described the scene on June 23, 2001, as "confusing and frightening". Battey was said by witnesses to have been in the "middle of the fight" and was acting as if he was "furious". A third police officer felt a blow to his back, was pulled back and struck his head on the pavement. A Martyn Fisher was arrested for pushing the officer over.

Benjamin Lucas was also arrested after he was seen punching another man.

All the men said they had drunk large amounts of alcohol and were making "poor decisions" because of the drink. Jones, Sheriff, Battey and Lucas pleaded guilty to causing an affray. Fisher pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour.

The court heard that Jones, 23, had a large and supportive family, worked full-time and was "ashamed" about his involvement in the affray. However, he had previous convictions for criminal damage and burglary.

Sheriff, 28, of Gainsborough Road, Stowmarket, who had a record for criminal damage and causing actual bodily harm, was a roofer who was not likely to re-offend the court heard.

Battey, 27, of Purcell Road, Stowmarket, who had a previous record for causing actual bodily harm, was angry because he had been kicked and gassed and his sister needed medical attention at the scene.

Lucas, 27, of St Mary's Road, Stowmarket, who was of previous good character, was currently involved in an HGV driving course and hoped to gain employment in the future.

Fisher, 24, of Windgap Lane, Haughley, who was of previous good character, tried to pull his friend away from police and accidentally pushed one of the new officers over.

Judge John Devaux sentenced Jones to 120 hours community punishment, a 12-week curfew and told him to pay £250 costs.

Sheriff was told to do 130 hours unpaid work. He was put on a curfew for 13 weeks and told to pay £250 costs.

Battey was put on an eight-week curfew and told to pay £50 costs.

Lucas was sentenced to 120 hours community punishment, a 12 week curfew and told to pay £250 costs.

Fisher was told to do 150 hours unpaid work, and told to pay £100 costs.

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