Man jailed for 32 months for attacking friend on Christmas Eve

Gavin Priestly was jailed for more than two years for a Christmas Eve attack in St Stephen's Lane. 

Gavin Priestly was jailed for more than two years for a Christmas Eve attack in St Stephen's Lane. - Credit: Archant

A drunk 22-year-old Ipswich man who kicked a friend in the head causing him to lose consciousness in the town centre on Christmas Eve has been jailed for 32 months.

Gavin Priestley committed the offence less than six months after he was given a suspended prison sentence for being involved in an earlier attack on a man in an Ipswich churchyard, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Priestley, of Milton Street, Ipswich, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on December 24 last year and breach of an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years imposed in July last year for being part of a group which attacked a man in an Ipswich churchyard in July 2020.

At an earlier hearing 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 Priestley 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, Priestley 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 Priestley told him to pretend that nothing had happened.

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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.

Simon Gladwell, for Priestley described the assault in St Stephen’s Lane as “horrific”.

During Priestley’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 Priestley.             

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