Men are locked up over shovel attack

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Three men who 'lost control' and launched a vicious attack that saw their victim hit over the head with a shovel have been jailed.

Robert Rolls was left unconscious following the 'sustained assault' along Hagley Road, Stourbridge, during the early hours of June 30 last year.

Ryan Claridge, Mark Flavell and Benjamin Payne were all jailed after each admitted a count of attempted grievous bodily harm.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard 21-year-old Claridge, of Barnett Lane, Kingswinford, and Payne, 20, of Chapel Street, Brierley Hill, had been out drinking and were making their way along Hagley Road at around 4.40am.

Mr Rolls, who had also been out drinking, was walking along the road and a dispute had broken out. Judge Amjad Nawaz was told Mr Rolls had started the violence by punching Claridge in the face, causing him to suffer a bloody nose. Mr Rolls had then walked away but was still angry and had torn out flowers from a display along the road.

The court was told that Claridge and Payne followed him and Flavell, 44, of Albert Street, Pensnett, pulled up in his van and parked up along the road. He had left the vehicle and got a spade out of the back before walking over.

The court was told Flavell had been sitting in the vehicle earlier when Mr Rolls had suddenly walked up and cracked the windscreen.

Flavell had been on his way home when he saw Mr Rolls arguing with Claridge and Payne and stopped. Mr Rolls was knocked to the floor and Flavell struck him twice on the legs with the shovel.

The victim was kicked by all three men. Payne then handed Claridge the shovel and he struck Mr Rolls on the head with it three times. Mr Rolls suffered swelling to his face and a cut to his elbow.


Claridge was given 30 months imprisonment and Flavell received a term of 36 months in jail.

Payne, who did not plead guilty to the charge as early as the others, received 38 months imprisonment at a young offenders' institute.

Mr Simon Williams, defending Flavell, said his client was remorseful. Mr Christopher Loach, defending Claridge, said his client 'apologised unreservedly'. Miss Laura Culley, defending Payne, said since the incident her client had stopped drinking and no longer went out at night.

Judge Nawaz said: "All three of you lost control. This was a sustained assault."

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