Ipswich man faces jail for Christmas Eve attack on friend

Ipswich crown court with road sign

Gavin Priestly admitted causing actual bodily harm in the Christmas Eve attack - Credit: Archant

A drunk Ipswich man who kicked a friend in the head causing him to lose consciousness on Christmas Eve was part of a group that attacked another man in a churchyard, a court has heard.

Gavin Priestly, 22, was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years in July last year for the attack in the churchyard and now faces having that sentence activated as well as being sentenced for the Christmas Eve attack.

Priestly, of Milton Street, Ipswich, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on December 24 last year and breach of a suspended prison sentence.

Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, said that on December 24 last year Priestly and the victim had visited Eden nightclub in the Old Cattle Market, Ipswich.

When they left at about 4am the victim had asked Priestly if there was anything going on between him and the victim’s ex-girlfriend and Priestly said there wasn’t.

When they were in St Stephen’s Lane, Priestly had become angry and pushed the victim over and kicked him twice to the head causing him to briefly lose consciousness.

The victim told police he’d been assaulted by “someone he used to call a friend” and said that when officers arrived Priestly told him to pretend that nothing had happened.

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He said that as a result of the assault he suffered a swollen jaw, a bloodshot eye, a lump on the back of his head and a cut on his nose.

Priestly’s sentence was adjourned until March 23 to allow a statement to be obtained from the victim and for a pre-sentence report.

Simon Gladwell, for Priestly described the assault in St Stephen’s Lane as “horrific” and said Priestly realised he was facing an immediate prison sentence.

During Priestly’s sentencing hearing in July last year the court heard that the victim had been waiting to go into a shop in Ipswich in July 2020 when a group of people came out of the premises.

One of the group lunged and swore at him and when he backed away the group had chased him into a churchyard.

There he was grabbed from behind by a 29-year-old man before being taken to the ground where he was kicked and punched and knocked unconscious by a number of people including Priestly.                

Priestly admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and in addition to being given a suspended prison sentence on that occasion he was ordered to do unpaid work and to pay the victim  compensation.