Three Preston youths sentenced for chasing man and injuring him with weapons

Three young men who attacked a man in Preston city centre have been sentenced.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 2:32 pm

Connor Harris, 19, of Fishergate Hill, Preston, Taylor Tunstall, 18, of Charlotte Place, Preston, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted causing actual bodily harm to the man 18 months ago, when they were 15, 16 and 17.

Judge Simon Newell had deferred their sentences to see how they managed with their rehabilitation, cannabis habits, work, training and accommodation.

Tunstall was also sentenced for possessing £1,300 of drugs with intent to supply while he was on bail for the attack in February - though this was before the period of the deferral.

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Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court heard at around 5pm on Saturday, September 1, 2018, the three youngsters had armed themselves with weapons, including a bottle and a baton, and had rained punches and kicks on victim Adam Heyworth in a "sustained and repeated assault".

When the first sentencing hearing was heard in July, prosecuting, Rachel Woods said: "He had arranged to meet up with some females but before doing so he unhappily came across the three defendants who he knew from the Avenham estate.

"He recognised Harris and described how he was chased through the city centre.

"He recalled somebody shouting: "Yo" and felt something hit the back of his head, and this caused him to stumble.

"As he turned around he was of the view all three of them had some type of a weapon.

"He recalled running, and tripping over and as he landed on the floor he curled up in a ball to protect himself."

Many people, including an off duty police officer out with his wife, witnessed the attack and managed to catch Connor Harris.

On his arrest he said: " I hit him yeah but I didn't hit him with the baton. He deserved it, he's a muppet."

The victim, who suffered two cuts to his temple that were glued at hospital, did not make a victim statement.

At that hearing, Judge Newell raised the fact all three were still smoking cannabis despite making progress.

Ms Woods said she could confirm no further allegations have arisen for the three defendants except for the drugs possession, in which Tunstall and a relative had been spotted acting suspiciously by police.

She added: " Officers followed them to Frenchwood Knoll and were suspicious of what was about to take place and as they went towards the two males they then ran away to an area at the side of the canal. They were pursued and Tunstall was detained nearby.

"Police officers attended with a dog to search the area as they were suspicious items may have been discarded.

"Just off the canal area a purple container was traced by the police dog a short distance from where they had been seen running.

"It was found to contain 35 wraps of heroin in small street deals with a value of £350. There were also 47 wraps of crack cocaine worth £940.

"His house was searched and £10 of cannabis was found."

Tunstall received 21 months - suspended for a year.

All three received a rehabilitation requirement, programme requirement and a tagged curfew.

Not for the first time, Judge Newell said delays, such as in this case " made a mockery" of the justice system.

He added: "It appears the assault, nasty and unpleasant, as it was some form of gang dispute between people who live in one area and a young man who lives in another.

"There was a disagreement between the two groups, This young man was spotted, targeted and attacked in the centre of Preston. Pedestrians were about, ordinary members of the community were about, and weapons were taken to the scene and used.

"He sustained an unpleasant injury to his head caused by weapons and general unpleasant injuries otherwise.

"The assault was broken up by members of the public.

"It is impossible to justify a two year delay, to the witness, witnesses and to young people such as yourselves who, whatever their crime, should be treated, in a sophisticated society, quickly, speedily and justly.

"Delays such as this cannot lead to a just result for anybody and brings the criminal justice system into disrepute."

He added the system of sending postal requisitions many months or even years later, causes considerable sentencing problems for himself and other judges, but acknowledged all three defendants had made "good and decent progress".