Drunken youths jailed for beating father 'beyond recognition' after he asked them to stop urinating on a car

Posted on 9:02 AM by Sameer Shah

A judge has commended the courage of a man who was beaten 'beyond recognition as a person' by three drunken youths after he challenged them for urinating on a car.

Gareth Avery, 48, has permanent damage to his eyesight after he was stamped on and kicked as he lay unconscious in a pool of blood near his home.

Daniel Fawcett, 21, and Spencer Pettifor and Alan Stevens, both 17, were today jailed for a total of 10 years and nine months for the February attack.

Pettifor and Stevens, who were 16 at the time of the attack, were given three years' youth detention, while Fawcett was handed a prison sentence of four years and nine months.

Judge Michael Longman, sitting at Bristol Crown Court, said: 'This is a truly horrific incident of mindless violence fuelled by drinking visited on a decent member of the public for doing no more than complaining in a robust way about anti-social behaviour.

'He had the courage to say and do something, the result was that he was viscously and brutally assaulted in what was a prolonged attack where he had no chance to defend himself and through most of it he was unconscious.

'He suffered extremely serious injuries with severe consequences for himself physically, psychologically and financially some of which will be permanent.'

The trio and two girls had been drinking vodka and cider at Fawcett's house all evening until about 1am.

Fawcett was electronically tagged as part of a curfew order for a public order offence and so stayed at home while the others left.

Mr Avery was walking home from the pub in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, when he came across the group and saw Pettifor urinating against a car.

Prosecutor Robert Davies told Bristol Crown Court that Mr Avery remonstrated the teenager saying 'something to the effect of "What the f*** do you think you are doing?"

'Alan Stevens was behind Mr Avery and he was then grabbed by him and they fell to the ground.'

At some point Fawcett's girlfriend, who told police she tried to stop the teenagers from kicking Mr Avery, called Fawcett who lived nearby.

Fawcett then joined in the beating by raining down kicks and stamps on Mr Avery who was already unconscious.

'The next thing that Mr Avery remembers is someone telling him to wake up and a vague memory of him being in an ambulance,' said Mr Davies.

'He had been subjected to a prolonged, brutal and pitiless attack by these three and was entirely unable to defend himself.

'The violence seems to be directed at punishing Mr Avery for having the audacity to challenge the boy's behaviour.

'His face was swollen, there was a gelatinous mass of blood. It was a very serious injury that you would not have been able to recognise him as a person.'

Mr Avery suffered a fractured cheekbone, two broken eye sockets and needed metal plates fitted in his face after the attack. He had extensive surgery to rebuild his face and eye socket and now suffers from double vision.

At the last court hearing in August Judge John Foley agreed to lift reporting restrictions on the two teenagers allowing them to be named because of the seriousness of the crime.

But he ordered the reporting of the boys names to be postponed until after sentencing to prevent any possible "reprisals" while they were on bail.

Speaking outside court Mr Avery, who at one point choked back tears, said he wanted tougher prison sentences to be handed down.

'I don't think the sentences were long enough, but that's not the judge's fault it comes from higher up the government,' he said.

'I have just had to get on with my life, I have not let it ruin my life but it has made me more wary of groups of youths.

'There seems to be more yob culture around than when I was a lad and there are a lot of feral children.

'I didn't think what I did was courageous, to me it was just someone peeing against a car but I'm not sure whether I would challenge someone again, it was just spur of the moment.'

After the attack a picture showing Mr Avery's battered and blue face was issued as an example of the effects of yob culture in Britain.

Mr Avery said he has not been able to look at those pictures again.

'I came to court today because I have not seen them (attackers) before now and I wanted to know who they were.

'I have not received an apology from them at all, even though one lives down the road from me.

'But I have no feelings towards them now.

'It's been an upsetting experience but I know that I am lucky to be alive.'

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