Ipswich: Four men jailed after 33-year-old bundled in van and assaulted

IPSWICH: Four thugs who bundled an Ipswich man into a van and subjected him to a vicious beating before threatening to shoot him were today starting jail terms.

Gary Ely, 33, of Shetland Close, was repeatedly kicked and punched during his 45-minute ordeal.

Were it not for police stopping the van after being alerted by worried neighbours, his injuries could have been much worse, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Four men arrested by police following the attack were yesterday handed jail sentences after admitting assaulting Mr Ely causing him actual bodily harm on June 22 last year.

Before the court were Sean Weekes, 23, of Birkfield Drive, Ipswich, Patrick McDermott, 23 and Dean McDermott, 27, of Corrance Road, London, and Michael Allen, 41, of Mauleverer Road, London.

Weekes, Patrick and Dean McDermott were each jailed for 19 months and Allen was caged for 12 months.

Sentencing the men, Judge Rupert Overbury said they had been involved at various stages in a “sustained and brutal” attack on Mr Ely.

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“It is clear to me that had there not been a timely intervention by the police the injuries could have been much worse,” said the judge.

He said although Mr Ely had recovered from his physical injuries, which included a fractured cheekbone, the mental scars of his ordeal would take longer to heal.

All four defendants denied a charge of kidnapping Mr Ely and this was ordered to be left on the court file.

Christopher Paxton, prosecuting, said that on the day of the assault Mr Ely, who had been a heroin user, had met Weekes in Ancaster Road, Ipswich, after being offered some free heroin.

Weekes invited Mr Ely to get into the car he was in and then asked him for “weed and money” as he claimed he had been told Mr Ely had large amounts of both at his house.

Mr Ely was driven back to his home in Shetland Close and, fearing what was going to happen to him, Mr Ely had made a run for it shouting “help me, help me”.

As he tried to escape, he was bundled into a waiting van and was repeatedly punched and kicked.

At one stage during his ordeal, Mr Ely was moved from the front of the van into the back of the vehicle where the beating continued and he was also told he would be taken to a wood and shot.

Worried neighbours alerted the police after hearing Mr Ely’s shouts for help and the van was stopped on the A12 at Washbrook, said Mr Paxton.

He said Mr Ely was obviously in a bad way and was bleeding and disorientated.

He was seen by a doctor and was found to have a fractured cheekbone and bruises and grazes to his face and body.

n Do you have a message to the four defendants? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.