Seven people have been sentenced for their involvement in a violent and unprovoked assault on a 17-year-old asylum seeker in Croydon.
The group attacked their victim just because he and his friends had revealed they were from Iran and Iraq.
The attackers were sentenced on Monday, 12 March at Croydon Crown Court following two separate trials:
Kurt Killick, 18, of Erica Gardens, Croydon, was jailed for three years and four months for two counts of violent disorder;
George Walder, 21, of Myrtle Road, Croydon was jailed for four years and two months for two counts of violent disorder;
Liam Neylon, 20, of Ferris Avenue, Croydon was jailed for four years and two months for two counts of violent disorder;
James Neves, 23, of no fixed address, was jailed for two years and four months for one count of violent disorder;
George Jeffrey, 21, of Uvedale Close, Croydon waas jailed for four years and two months for two counts of violent disorder;
Ben Harman, 21, of Akabosi Close, Croydon, was jailed for four years and two months for two counts of violent disorder;
and Milly Walder, 18, of Myrtle Road, Croydon, was given a 12-month community order for one count of affray.
Killick, George Walder, and Neylon were all found guilty following the first trial which concluded in November 2017. Neves and Milly Walder pleaded guilty in August and December 2017. Jaffrey and Harman were convicted as part of the second trial which concluded on 1 February 2018.
Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan, from Croydon Borough, said: “This was a truly disgraceful and brutal assault on a young man who was simply out enjoying his night. The victim’s friends who witnessed the incident said they thought the suspects were going to kill their friend. Having seriously assaulted him, they were compelled to go back and attack him further.
“The injuries he suffered were so significant that he is now experiencing long-lasting trauma as a result. I hope some solace can be taken in the fact that my officers have worked diligently in bringing the offenders to justice – the convictions are a testament to their hard work and determination to hold those responsible to account.”
Police were called at around 11,40pm on 31 March 2017 to reports of a group of youths attacking a male in Shrublands Avenue, Croydon.
Officers attended, along with the London Ambulance Service, and found the victim suffering from serious injuries.
The court heard how the victim and his two friends were walking along Shrublands Avenue to a nearby bus stop, intending to travel into Croydon town centre for a night out. Passing by a pub, a group of individuals standing outside asked them where they were from. After telling the group they were from Iran and Iraq, the trio continued on.
But George Walder followed them, and unexpectedly punched the victim in the face. A white Vauxhall Corsa then pulled up and the driver, Ben Harman, and passenger, George Jeffrey, both got out and ran at the three victims.
Walder chased them across the roundabout to a nearby bus stop where the victim was repeatedly kicked and punched. His two friends ran off down Bridle Road and into a garden. They then returned and began to throw stones at the suspects in an effort to stop them. They were chased by members of the group, but were luckily able to escape.
As the incident died down, the victim staggered to his feet and run away. But he was chased along Shrublands Avenue, caught, and thrown to the ground where the attack continued.
Eventually the assault on the victim came to an end, and he was left lying prone in the street. When officers arrived at the scene, all of the suspects had fled.
The victim was taken to Kings College Hospital with severe injuries, including a fractured spine, fractured eye socket and a bleed to the brain. So serious were his injuries that doctors initially believed he may not survive. He was placed in an induced coma and remained in hospital for a number of days.
CCTV footage of the incident was vital to the investigation, enabling officers to identify those responsible. Various cameras recorded the suspects at different points and, following painstaking efforts, officers were able to piece together the events of that night.
In total, 17 individuals were arrested in connection with the investigation; of which 14 were subsequently charged.
The case of a 16-year-old who was accused of violent disorder was discontinued prior to trial.
The following individuals were acquitted:
Daryl Davis, 21, of Laurel Crescent, Croydon; Danyelle Davis, 24, of Laurel Crescent, Croydon; and, Kyran Evans, 24, of Shrublands Avenue, Croydon, were acquitted in the first trial.
Barry Potts, 21, of Fir Tree Gardens, Croydon; Jack Walder, 24, of Myrtle Road, Croydon; and, Ellie Leite, 19, of Shrublands Avenue, Croydon, were acquitted in the second trial.
A charge of theft against Walder resulted in a hung jury.