Manchester city centre poses ‘danger beyond expectations’, claims scientist savagely pounced on by drunken thugs

A scientist who was savagely stamped on in an unprovoked attack by two drunken thugs says the streets of Manchester pose a danger beyond most expectations.

Dr James Smith*, 32, paid a terrible price for engaging in pleasant banter with strangers Alan Croydon and Arron Buckley as he waited to get a cab home.

He was punched to the ground before being kicked and stamped on up to 15 times ‘with deadly intent’ as he lay defenceless.

The senior metallurgist was admitted to hospital for a brain scan after making his way home.

He later feared he would lose his job after having to hold key meetings with global leading aerospace companies whilst nursing a black eye.

He now believes the streets of Manchester will always ‘pose a danger beyond many expectations’.

In a statement Dr Smith said: “Not being a small guy I naively felt I would be okay. I was talking to them for a few minutes before they started punching.

“The fear began to build in me as one punched me from the side. It felt surreal. Scary. I lay there while they kicked and stamped on my head. I couldn’t believe it. The attack was brutal, violent, beyond the scope of my imagination.

“Never did I think this would be part of our lives, having to go through tests including a CT scan felt intimidating. I was an innocent, hardworking man that didn’t deserve what I got.”  

He added that he had felt ‘embarrassed’ about his injuries and that the events of the night had nearly taken away his successful career because his black eye had ‘not looked good professionally’.

He added: “I just want to feel confident again but worry that the streets of Manchester will always pose a danger beyond many expectations.”

Dr Smith spoke out as Croydon, 25, from Manchester, was locked away for 12 months after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual body harm.

A warrant was issued with for Buckley, also 25, who has gone on the run.

Manchester Crown Court was told the unprovoked attack occurred last December after Dr Smith had been out socialising with friends at the Malmaison Hotel and a bar the city’s trendy Northern Quarter district.

The victim had work commitments the following morning and left early to hail a cab home when he came across Croydon, Buckley and a third man loitering on a street corner.

He spoke briefly to them only for his heart to begin ‘racing’ when the thugs suddenly turned on him.

Prosecuting Mr John Wilcox said: “At first the conversation seemed to be pleasant enough. It clearly turned worse and then he was subject to the initial punch by Croydon. His co-accused then got involved. He was kicked to the ground at which stage he says things became blurry. He could feel the punches to his head and body.”

He added that Croydon initially struck five times to his head and body whilst Buckley hit him ten times.

Mr Wilcox added: “But to compound matters, both returned to the victim and attacked him.”

The court heard that Croydon kicked the scientist a further three times before leaving the scene.

Dr Smith had to use a handkerchief to wipe the blood from his lip before phoning his wife and making his way home, reporting the incident to the police the following day.

The court heard Croydon had been drunk on brandy following an all day drinking session.

He was previously given a suspended sentence for a racially aggravated public order offence in 2011 and was subject to a community order in 2012 for possession of cannabis.

Defence counsel Mr Steve Tettey said that his client had ‘a reliance on alcohol’ and added: “There can be no dispute on the culpability. For Mr Smith the psychological scars will remain long after his black eye heals.

“There is no good explanation for the defendant’s conduct, the truth is he was so intoxicated, he had consumed over eight brandies having drunk substantially during the day. He cannot recall the incident he was so intoxicated.”

But the judge Mr Recorder Charles Garside QC told Croydon: “You took part in what appears to have been a completely unprovoked attack on a stranger in Manchester city centre.

‘”It goes without saying this was in the hours of darkness, you struck the first blow and you and your confederate used shod feet and fists. This was a sustained and repeated assault. You take a leading role in the attack and you used shod feet as a weapon.

“The really aggravating factor is having kicked him to the ground, left him lying in the pavement and starting to move away, you and another went back and went kicking and stamping on him again. The thing that marks this assault out is the fact that you returned to a man who was dazed and unable to defend himself.

“You were very, very lucky that no greater harm was done.”

Story via Cavendish Press

*Named changed on request of the victim

Image courtesy of Matthew Purplemattfish, with thanks

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