Court: Student knocked man unconscious with single punch on night out in Harrogate

A drunken music student who knocked a young man unconscious with a single blow has been spared jail.

Tuesday, 21st February 2017, 10:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:40 am
The case was heard at York Crown Court

Dylan Radcliffe, 20, punched the man to the ground after troubled flared between two groups of people in Harrogate.

The victim, who was trying to act as peacemaker, was punched “very hard” in the face and rendered unconscious after banging his head on the pavement, York Crown Court heard.

Radcliffe’s friend then stamped on his head, said prosecutor John Batchelor.

The victim suffered a “very severe” cut which went right through his lip. He was treated at both Leeds and York hospitals where he had stitches to his lip and a precautionary brain scan. He will be left with a permanent scar.

Radcliffe - who currently lives in student accommodation in Salford - was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He denied the offence, claiming he acted in self-defence as he and the victim jostled each other.

During his trial, the jury heard that the Harrogate man had drunk five pints and two vodkas while out with a friend at town-centre clubs.

He then headed for a McDonald’s restaurant where he started “arrogantly” teasing a group of students who were out on an after-prom celebration and dressed in their finest.

Radcliffe mocked one of them for wearing a suit and told two of the girls they looked under-age and “shouldn’t be out in town”.

He then threw a cup of Coke over two of the females, which went all over their prom outfits, said Mr Batchelor.

The trouble continued outside where Radcliffe and his friend rushed the group of students. As Radcliffe squared up to one of the males, the victim - who knew the sixth-formers - came upon the scene and tried to defuse the situation by standing between the two men. Witnesses said Radcliffe floored the victim, who was named in court, with a mighty blow.

Two night marshals ushered Radcliffe and his mate away before they ran off down Oxford Street.

One of the marshals said that during the commotion, he heard Radcliffe shout: “How dare they start with me?”

Radcliffe’s lawyer Keith Whitehouse said the disgraced student had a potentially promising musical career ahead of him, but would now find it much more difficult to find work in the industry due to his conviction.

The court heard that despite witness evidence that Radcliffe’s friend had stamped on the victim, the defendant’s friend was never charged with anything.

Mr Batchelor said the victim had been unable to play rugby in the weeks following the attack and had not been able to go out socialising all that summer.

On Friday a jury found Radcliffe guilty of ABH.

Judge Alistair Macdonald QC said Radcliffe had deliberately picked a fight with the students and branded his behaviour “utterly arrogant”, adding: “You were out of control”.

Radcliffe was given a community order with 200 hours’ unpaid work. The judge made no order for costs or compensation because Radcliffe was a student living on a shoe-string budget.

Mr Macdonald said he was “quite certain” that Radcliffe’s friend, who was named in court, had stamped on the victim’s head. He ordered an inquiry into the reasons why this man had not been charged and prosecuted.