Man jailed for attacking friend - Dunstable

20/01/2016

A man, who attacked his friend on top of Dunstable Downs after a drunken night out, was today, Wednesday, 20 January 2016, jailed for two years and seven months at Luton Crown Court.

A jury cleared Ellis Rodney of a charge of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, but found him guilty instead of the lesser charge of unlawful wounding. His victim was kicked and punched with such ferocity that he lost a tooth, his nose was broken along with some ribs and he suffered a damaged spleen and punctured lung. The two men had come over from Oxfordshire for a night out in Dunstable and had been drinking with two other friends in Cookies nightclub.

Judge Richard Foster told Rodney, aged 27, of Coopers Lane, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, who had claimed he had acted in self defence, that he was satisfied he had manufactured a version of events to fit around the evidence to try and convince the jury he was innocent. But the Judge said he had kicked the victim on numerous occasions, which had caused the serious injuries to his lung and spleen. Those injuries, said Judge Foster: "could have been life threatening."

It was last June that the two former friends came over to Dunstable in the victim's car for a night out.

Rodney pleaded not guilty to causing GBH with intent to the victim in the early hours of 12 June last year.

Prosecutor Jai Patel told the jury how, on Thursday, 11 June, the victim, who lives in Oxford, Rodney and two other friends went out for the evening in Dunstable. They ended up in Cookies Nightclub where, at one point in the night, the victim was asked by door staff to leave the club because of the amount he had to drink. Rodney had successfully tried to smooth things over with the staff so that his friend was allowed back in.

The jury then heard how the victim, Rodney and their two other friends left the club in the early hours of the Friday morning. It was decided they would walk onto the downs in a bid to get some air.

Mr Patel said up on the downs the victim and Rodney were walking together while their two friends were walking ahead of them. He said an argument then broke out between them. "It resulted in the victim receiving serious injuries," he said, adding that Rodney could have been fed up with his friend by then and his behaviour earlier in the club. "The victim was punched to the ground by Rodney and kicked a number of times," said the prosecutor. The two other friends, who had been further ahead, ran back to find the victim covered in blood, the court was told.

Mr Patel said in the attack the victim suffered fractured ribs, damage to his spleen, a broken nose, and he lost a tooth.  He was taken to hospital that morning to be treated for his injuries.

In the witness box the victim said up until the incident he had been friends with Rodney for over 10 years. He said when they left the club he thought the plan was to go to the home of one of his friends, who lived locally, but instead they ended up on the downs. The victim said it was as he and Rodney were talking about their girlfriends that an argument broke out. "I was punched and I was on the floor, it all happened so quickly. I remember asking him to stop because he was kicking me in the face. He kicked me in the face and the ribs." He said his tooth was knocked out and his nose was broken.

The court heard he was helped off the downs and was taken to his car where, covered in blood, he drove to his girlfriend's home at Bicester. He said his mother then came to collect him and took him home, but he was then taken to hospital by ambulance.

In the witness box, Rodney said it was the victim who had first attacked him and, as a result, he had been forced to defend himself. He said he had used only the force he thought was necessary.

After the verdicts were announced by the jury, they were told how Rodney had a number of previous convictions for violence, including common assault, battery and attempted robbery. He was also in breach of a three month prison sentence suspended for 18 months handed to him at Oxford Crown Court in April 2015 for possessing a class A drug.

Judge Foster ordered that in addition to the two and half years he must serve for the attack, he must also serve an extra month for the breach of the suspended sentence.

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