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10th Dec, 2019

Party guests kicked and stamped on unconscious man

A VICIOUS attack saw guests at a fancy dress party kick and stamp on a man while he lay unconscious on the floor.

At Warwick Crown Court, Dale McCarthy and Jay Drage pleaded guilty to a charge of affray following the incident at the Sports Connection in Ryton – just three days before Drage was due to be sentenced for an earlier assault.

Drage, 20, of Warwick Road, Wolston, was jailed for 12 months, and McCarthy, 19, of Montague Road, Rugby, for nine months.

Judge Anthony Potter said he could not pass suspended sentences on either of them, despite McCarthy having no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that on December 7 last year, the Sports Connection leisure centre in Ryton was hosting two parties in separate function rooms – a Christmas party for Barclays Bank staff, and a fancy dress party – at which Drage and McCarthy were guests, dressed as Batman and Superman respectively.

There was a confrontation when members of both parties went outside for a cigarette which continued as they headed back into the foyer.

Playing the CCTV recording from the foyer, and describing those in fancy dress by their costumes, Mr Windridge said a Barclays employee was pursued in by Superman.

As Supergirl tried to push Batman away back out of the doors, a blow off-camera from Superman felled the Barclays employee.

And as one of his colleagues tried to help the felled man, who was bleeding from his face, he was also punched by Superman before a member of staff intervened and tried to get him to leave.

But Superman went flying in, and during the skirmish that followed, a third Barclays employee was knocked unconscious to the floor.

CCTV showed McCarthy, identified by his distinctive red cape, raising his leg and stamping down or jumping on the prone man.

Batman then also waded in, despite Supergirl’s attempts to pull him away, and landed ‘a substantial kick’ to the victim.

It was delivered with such force that the man’s head was lifted off the floor and Batman lost his balance and fell.

He was helped to his feet, and he and Superman all left as Supergirl and others tried to help the victim, who was taken to hospital.

The victim had cuts to his face and was found to have suffered a small bleed to his brain, which did not require any surgical intervention, said Mr Windridge.

He added that McCarthy had no previous convictions, but at the time Drage was on bail for an assault he had committed the previous New Year’s Eve, for which he appeared at the court just three days after the fancy dress incident.

He was given an 18-month community order, with a curfew intended to stop him ‘going on the lash’ over that festive period – but it had come three days too late for his latest victim.

Simon Burch, for McCarthy, said: “There was a degree of bravado in the way Mr McCarthy and his associate acted.

“The main aggravating factor is his action in what can only be regarded as a moment of complete madness of that perceived stamp or jump. Mercifully he was wearing soft trainers.”

Mr Burch added that the other side of McCarthy was that he was ‘a competent rugby player,’ playing for Warwickshire 20s and Newbold, and he also coaches children on Sundays.

Sarah Holland, for Drage, said he had not been in trouble since being given the community order three days after the affray.

Jailing the two men, Judge Potter told them: “You may have been dressed as superheroes, but the way you conducted yourselves was far from being fitting.

“As (the victim) was pushed to the floor, you McCarthy kicked him.

“It is plain he was unconscious. He was not in a position to defend himself or to curl up or get up, which makes the acts of both of you worse.

“You Mr McCarthy jumped up and onto his chest area. You Mr Drage went to his head and can clearly be seen kicking. It is quite sickening. These kinds of acts frequently lead to serious injuries and sometimes fatalities.

“I’ve considered whether I can suspend the sentence, but I could not send out the message that someone who kicks someone who is unconscious on the ground is deserving of a suspended sentence. I would be failing in my public duty if I were to suspend it.”

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