Harrogate man jailed 12 months for two brutal assaults

Alex Banner.
Alex Banner.

A man has been jailed for a ferocious attack on someone he accused of stealing 7oz of cannabis and an equally-brutal assault on the victim’s friend.

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Sam Cranfield.

Sam Cranfield.

One of the named victims was punched and hit over the head with what appeared to be a mobile phone after getting into an argument with Alex Banner, 32, who had earlier warned the victim that he would turn up at his home near Harrogate town centre with a “car-full of lads”.

Banner, 32, punched him twice then threw him to the ground next to a stairway, York Crown Court heard.

“He (Banner) had something in his hand used to punch, perhaps his mobile phone,” said prosecutor Camille Morland.

After throwing the victim to the ground, Banner stamped on his shoulder blade, added the barrister.

She said the victim, who suffered extensive bruising, was so scared he spent the next few days at his friend’s flat in another part of town.

Ms Morland said that before the attack, Banner had sent the victim a text message saying he was “a dead man”.

The victim and his partner - who witnessed the frightening assault - were terrified following the incident on August 12 last year, but Banner was already plotting a second attack.

Ms Morland said that Banner, of Mayfield Grove, Harrogate, asked his friend Sam Cranfield if he would drive him to a property on Belmont Road the following day.

Cranfield, 32, agreed to take Banner in his works van and they drove to the property with a third man who has never been identified.

“When they arrived at Belmont Road, Cranfield remained in the van at all times,” said Ms Morland. “He was sending text messages to his girlfriend saying, ‘Just trying to find a rat that robbed 7oz (of cannabis) off my mate.’”

Banner and the unidentified male went up to the property to look for the victim, but instead found his friend stood at the front porch. Notwithstanding, Banner and his unnamed cohort launched a brutal attack on the man, in which Banner first floored him with a ferocious punch to the face.

“The other man grabbed (the victim) by the ankles and dragged him down the steps to the pavement,” added Ms Morland.

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“Both men then attacked (the victim), kicking and punching him. This went on for about three to four minutes.”

The victim suffered cuts to his face, sore ribs and grazed shins. He had since suffered from sleep deprivation and anxiety. His partner said they were so scared they had moved out of the area.

Banner was arrested and ultimately charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Cranfield, of Lichfield Grove, Harrogate, admitted one count of aiding and abetting ABH. Both men entered their pleas on the day of trial.

They appeared for sentence on Friday when the court heard that Banner had previous convictions for offences including threatening behaviour, criminal damage and breaching a non-molestation order.

Cranfield had convictions for 39 offences including shoplifting, possessing an offensive weapon, aggravated vehicle-taking, cannabis possession, possessing counterfeit notes and a racially-aggravated public-order offence in 2015 when he insulted a BBC cameraman who was filming a works do.

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Defence barrister Andrew Stranex said Banner had mental-health issues and was receiving help but was an otherwise good family man.

Ian Brook, for Cranfield, said his client had “some degree of remorse” for facilitating the attack in the leafy Harrogate street, which was filmed by a witness.

Judge Mr Recorder Hampton said: “This was organised, premeditated violence on the streets of North Yorkshire, arising out of a dispute about drugs.”

He said although Cranfield had taken no part in the actual violence, he was an “enthusiastic participant” by driving Banner to the scene.

Banner was jailed for 12 months. Cranfield remonstrated vociferously with the judge as he was sent down for four months.