Four behind bars over horrific raid

Sent to jail (clockwise from top left) Darren Radcliffe, Sean Mitchell, Christian Lewis and Gary Ashworth were all involved in the burglary.

Sent to jail (clockwise from top left) Darren Radcliffe, Sean Mitchell, Christian Lewis and Gary Ashworth were all involved in the burglary.

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THREE men who kicked and stamped on the face of a cannabis dealer as they burgled his home have been slapped with lengthy jail terms.

The victim, in his 40s, had a flat screen TV repeatedly dropped on his head and suffered a fractured eye socket during the savage attack on Grasmere Road, Blackpool, in October last year.

Judge Norman Taylor described the man’s injuries as “horrific” and described him as a “soft target”.

Yesterday three men were sentenced at Preston Crown Court after admitting offences of burglary and wounding.

Gary Ashworth, 20, of Simpson Street, South Shore, was given six years and nine months in youth custody.

Christian Lewis, 21, of Bean Avenue, South Shore, was handed a term of six years and three months.

Sean Mitchell, 21, of Marsden Road, South Shore, was sentenced to 11 years and three months, with three years on extended licence.

Mitchell’s sentence included a prison term for wounding with intent after an horrific attack on a disabled man on Blackpool Promenade.

A fourth man, Darren Radcliffe, 20, of Princess Street, Blackpool, was charged with burglary and sentenced to three years and four months.

The court heard how the four had been drinking when they arrived at the victim’s house.

One of them had bought cannabis from the man previously, and the victim believed they wanted to buy drugs.

But once inside, two of them men frogmarched him upstairs to his flat and threw him on the floor.

He was asked where his drugs were kept prior to the vicious attack.

A laptop was also stolen.

Sentencing the men, Judge Norman Wright said: “It’s often been said an Englishman’s home is his castle and perhaps the one place anybody can feel safe in.

“It might surprise some to know this can even apply to small time cannabis dealers.

“Even those have the protection of the law and deserve not to be burgled.

“This was deliberate targeting. He was, in my judgment, a soft target.”

Preston Crown Court heard details of another offence committed by Mitchell earlier this year, when he and an accomplice attacked a disabled man on Blackpool Promenade.

The victim was punched, kicked and stamped on while defenceless on the ground in what the judge described as a “dreadful and appalling offence”.

He ended up with a haemorrhage and needed to be put on a hospital ventilator.

The second man involved in the attack, Calum Johnson, 20, of Station Terrace, South shore was sentenced to seven years and seven months in youth custody.

The court heard how the victim had been drinking and arguing with three women who were passing.

One of the women punched him in the face and then left, but later two of the group returned with Mitchell and Johnson.

The disabled man suffered a vicious assault as he lay defenceless.

Passers by tried to stop the attack on the man but the stamping and jumping on his head persisted.

He was rushed to hospital where he remained unconscious for 48 hours and suffered from a massive swelling to his head.

The court was told Mitchell’s downfall appeared to be drink and drugs.

Johnson was said to regret his behaviour.

Det Con Simon Gray, of Blackpool CID, said: “I’m pleased with the length of these sentences.

“This was a vicious and violent attack.

“Although a low level drug dealer, their victim was a shy, quite vulnerable man and he has been left physically scarred.”