Ipswich: Thug university student punished for “brutal” attack which left victim partially blind

IPSWICH: A thuggish student who partially blinded a man in a “savage, brutal and mindless” attack has avoided jail.

Victim Stephen Hails lost vision in his left eye and fractured his thumb and eye socket after being punched to the floor in Fore Street.

Drunk Ben Redman, an undergraduate at University Campus Suffolk, lashed out at Mr Hails after the 53-year-old had challenged him over striking a girl on to a car bonnet.

Ipswich Crown Court heard witness statements describing Redman, 22, as having a wild look in his eye in the lead up to the assault on Mr Hails last December.

He had intimidated and goaded his victim by asking: “What are you going to do about it, old man?”

Then, when they were outside the post office in Fore Street, he drew his arm back behind his shoulder and landed a blow below Mr Hails’s eye. It caused him to fall to the floor with a thud, hitting his head and losing consciousness.

Redman, of Athena Hall, Duke Street, who is set to begin his final year of a business and marketing degree next month, then fled the scene.

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The undergraduate, from Basildon, admitted causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Hails at a Ipswich Crown Court hearing on July 29.

Judge David Goodin gave Redman a 12-month jail term suspended for two years, an order to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work and a two-month night-time curfew, to his mother’s address in Basildon.

He added: “This was a savage, brutal and mindless attack, making you a hooligan who in drink can’t control himself.”

Mr Hails suffered psychologically, physically and financially as a result of the attack but Judge Goodin said Redman’s dire financial situation meant there was little point in making an order for compensation.

Claire Ashcroft, mitigating, said her client had only been playfully pushing the girl in the run-up to the attack.

She added: “He’s devastated about what has happened, he’s genuinely concerned about the victim.

“He’s horrified at the acts that have been described and I would ask your honour that this incident is seen as an aberration in an otherwise hard-working 22-year life.”

A spokeswoman for University Campus Suffolk said now the court case was finished it would begin internal disciplinary procedures against Redman.