Jail for duo who attacked disabled man

Joshua Venebles and Thomas Skelton
Joshua Venebles and Thomas Skelton

Two men who carried out a street attack on a disabled man in the early hours of the morning were today (Tuesday) each jailed for three and a half years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Thomas Skelton and Joshua Venables struck as their 26 year old victim walked along Broadfield Lane, Boston, heading for home after a night out.

Court crest

Court crest

Greg Purcell, prosecuting, said the victim realised he was being followed by a Mini car while he was walking and moments later the vehicle stopped and he was confronted.

Skelton told the victim to ‘hand over his gear’ but he replied that did not have any drugs on him.

Mr Purcell said “The victim turned and tried to run but his disability made that difficult.”

Skelton confronted the victim and another man, who has not been identified, grabbed him from behind.

The victim went to the floor where he received a number of blows from Skelton and Venables.

Mr Purcell said “The victim was aware that one of the males went through his pockets. The male couldn’t find what he was looking for.”

The attackers walked off but were detained moments later as police officers in a patrol car, by coincidence, were driving past and stopped the two men. The victim then emerged from an alleyway and complained to police he had just been attacked.

Mr Purcell said that earlier in the evening Venables had been robbed of a Rolex watch and afterwards drove around with Skelton looking to find the person who had attacked him.

The court was told that the 26-year-old who the pair later attacked had nothing to do with the earlier incident.

Skelton, 23 , of Fenside Road, Boston, and Venables, 22, of Spilsby Road, Boston, each admitted attempted robbery as a result of the incident on 27 February.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, for Skelton, said he had been drinking and agreed to help his friend recover his property.

“He is remorseful and ashamed. This has been a salutary experience for him and he knows he has done wrong.”

Mark Watson, for Venables, said his client was a market trader who went off the rails and turned to drugs.

Mr Watson said “It is his father’s hope that a sentence will straighten him out. He has the stability of his parents’ home and their support.”

Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told them “Your victim has a serious disability. His movements are restricted and he has problems with balance.

“I accept you didn’t target him. You misidentified him as the man who had done something to Venables earlier in the evening.”