Thug Crowley jailed over brutal beating

HE was the apple of his mother's eye, but today teenage thug Thomas Crowley is starting a 12-month sentence after being part of a gang which beat an Ipswich man unconscious. His sentence came just four months after he claimed to have mended his ways.

By Colin Adwent

HE was the apple of his mother's eye, but today teenage thug Thomas Crowley is starting a 12-month sentence after being part of a gang which beat an Ipswich man unconscious.

His sentence came just four months after he claimed he had mended his ways and was setting a good example to the wayward youngsters of east Ipswich.

Yesterday, magistrates at Ipswich youth court agreed to The Evening Star's request to waive the 17-year-old's right to anonymity after Crowley's sentencing.

The vicious assault he was involved in has left one of the victims, Terry Ragan, frightened to walk to the shops near his home in Rands Way.

In a statement read out to the court by prosecutor John Hardwick, Mr Ragan said: "I have suffered depression for the past 15 years. My confidence has taken a battering since the attack. Before I would have walked to the shops. I don't do that now. I have lost all confidence and drive everywhere."

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A similar statement was read out from his brother Gary, who said: "I don't go out on my own now."

Crowley had denied actual bodily harm against Terry Ragan, common assault on Gary Ragan and breaching an anti-social behaviour order. However, he was convicted at his trial in October.

Last month magistrates were told Crowley, who has a string of previous court appearances to his name, was one of an eight-strong mob messing about in Rands Way, Ipswich, on August 14.

The youngsters began throwing apples, with one hitting 25-year-old Terry Ragan on the back of his head. Terry, who did not know Crowley, went into his house. His 19-year-old brother Gary then came out to speak to the youngsters and a fight broke out.

Gary was punched in the face, leaving him with a broken nose. Terry was knocked down, and the flurry of punches and kicks continued while he was on the ground.

During the attack it was said one of the youths, not Crowley, had stamped on Terry Ragan's head.

The barrage of blows left him unconscious.

Yesterday Mr Hardwick told the court that when Terry Ragan came to he was confused, distressed and his eyes were rolling round in his head.

He was taken to hospital, where he remained for eight hours to ensure he had not sustained permanent brain damage.

He also had to see a doctor after his release for treatment on his jaw, which had been put out of alignment by the blows.

Diana Infanti, for Crowley, of Shackleton Road, Ipswich, said: "Thomas still maintains his position concerning his involvement in the offence. He was with a group of some eight persons. The offence starts off with a period of what Thomas describes as messing about. He admits being there but does not accept the full extent of the court's finding. He accepts he is going to be punished."

Sentencing Crowley, who was wearing a tag on his right ankle, chairman of the bench Bernard Hindes said: "We are going to commit you to a period of custody. We are doing this because of the seriousness of the offences and to protect the general public."

Crowley was given an eight-month detention and retraining order for the attack on Terry Ragan and a four-month order for the common assault on Gary to be served consecutively. He was also given a six-month detention and retraining order to run concurrently with the other sentences.

Crowley's Asbo will remain in place until November 10, 2004.

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