Harrogate man jailed for vicious attack and stamping on victim's head

A mature student has been jailed after repeatedly kicking and stamping on the head of a man at his home in Harrogate, knocking him unconscious and breaking his jaw.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:36 am
Harrogate man Matthew Childs, 39, a heroin addict and heavy drinker, kicked and stamped on the victim about 12 times, York Crown Court heard.

Matthew Childs, 39, a heroin addict and heavy drinker, kicked and stamped on the victim about 12 times, York Crown Court heard.

The victim was just leaving his friend’s flat when he bumped into Childs and told him: “Mind where you’re going, mate.”

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This enraged Childs, who followed the victim to his home in Grove Avenue a short distance away, said prosecutor Gareth Henderson-Moore.

When the victim reached his front door and was about to put his key in the lock, Childs attacked him from behind and pushed him across the threshold.

The victim tripped over a step and fell to the ground in the communal hallway whereupon Childs began kicking and stamping on his head and body “repeatedly”.

A neighbour came to the aid of the unconscious victim and an ambulance was called.

He was taken to hospital with a fractured jaw, multiple bruises to his head and body, extremely sore ribs and black eyes.

He discharged himself from hospital because it was the height of the Covid pandemic and “he thought others would need hospital more than him, and he wasn’t thinking straight”.

Childs, of Dalby Avenue, Harrogate, was arrested and admitted causing grievous bodily harm. He appeared for sentence on Wednesday.

Mr Henderson-Moore said the victim had been drinking at a friend’s house just before the attack at about 10pm in June 2020.

The victim, who only had a passing acquaintance with Childs, said: “I was laid on my back and without warning I was kicked and stamped on. I believe it was about 12 times.”

He said the kicks were “very forceful” and “repeated over and over”.

“I didn’t think he was going to stop,” he added.

He said he had been in “a lot of pain” since the attack and struggled to walk and do activities with his daughter.

He said he remembered coming round when his neighbour came to his aid and then ending up in hospital.

The court heard that Childs had 10 previous convictions for offences including violence.

Philip Standfast, mitigating, said there was “clearly a long history of drink and drug abuse arising from (Childs’s) troubled childhood and adolescence”.

He said Childs had recently started a course at Askham Bryan College in York but had not re-enrolled for the coming academic term due to these court proceedings.

Judge Simon Hickey said: “This was a prolonged and persistent assault on that man on the floor when he was defenceless.”

Jailing Childs for 16 months, he said that only an immediate prison term could be merited for “attacking a man without warning and without provocation when he’s on the floor”.

Childs will serve half of that sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.