Three people who beat up a scrap yard worker in a dispute over £10 worth of metal have escaped serious punishment – prompting the victim to brand the criminal system a ‘joke’.
Machine operator Ben Millard suffered cuts to his head and face at the hands of the trio who started on him after being refused their asking price for a radiator they had taken to Enablelink UK in Coseley.
Brothers Francis and Henry Doe and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, were all convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month.
The jury also acquitted Francis Doe of possessing a knuckle duster and Henry Doe of possessing a metal bar. Francis Doe was also found not guilty of assaulting another man.
Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, the three were sentenced by Judge Philip Parker QC.
Francis Doe, aged 24, of Odstock Road in Salisbury, was given a 12-month community order to complete 100 hours unpaid work.
Henry Doe, aged 22, also of Odstock Road, received a six month community order to attend a Keeping Calm and Getting To Know You programme.
The youth was given a six-month youth rehabilitation order with a supervision requirement.
Between them, the trio were also ordered to pay Mr Millard £450 in compensation.
Judge Parker said: “In simple terms you were customers of a scrap yard in Coseley, an altercation occurred over the items you were bringing into be weighted and violence then started.
“You, Henry, started it, Francis soon joined in and during the assault on Ben Millard, you (the youth) joined in.
“The jury were not satisfied a weapon was used.
“It was an ugly incident, totally unnecessary as you must acknowledge. Fortunately, Ben Millard suffered only from relative laceration and soft tissue injuries.”
Today, Mr Millard, a father-of-two from Kidderminster, said he was shocked by the trio’s sentences.
The 31-year-old said the attack left him needing stitches and a swollen face for weeks.
He said: “If they retaliate like that over £10, I wonder what they would be like over £100, they could kill someone.
“It is a joke, for them to get community orders for what they did to me, it is a let down by the criminal system.
“You get sentences like that for when you get a speeding fine.”
Mr Millard, who gave evidence at the trial at Crown Court, described how two of the defendants came into the yard with the radiator.
While weighing the item, he told them they would not get the weight price because steel parts from radiator had to be taken off before it was recycled.
He said: “They fired up. One of them went to the car to get a third man who came up to me first, then the other two joined in.
“I was left dazed on the floor in a pool of my own blood,” he said.
Mr Millard’s father, also called Ben Millard, is transport manager at the family firm in Budden Road.
He said CCTV cameras had since been installed around the yard to increase security.
“We never expected this, and we don’t expect it to happen again,” said Mr Millard.
“We are not very happy with the sentences. For what they did to my son and the injuries caused, we expected stronger punishment.”
The scrap yard buys metals from the public and businesses.
It sorts the items and then sells most of them to China where they are melted down and recycled.