Sheffield Crown Court heard on February 28 how booze-fuelled Ian Askey, aged 48, of Upper Greenhill Gardens, Matlock, punched his victim 30 times and kicked him six times in an unprovoked attack as they were standing at the counter of the Jet petrol station, on Northfield Road, Crookes, Sheffield.
Askey’s 61-year-old victim stated: “When I was on the floor of the petrol station I really believed I was going to die and I screamed at him to stop and I protected my head as best as I could but nothing seemed to make a difference.”
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, told the court the complainant asked Askey, who was not wearing a mask, to keep his social-distance but the defendant headbutted the complainant and struck him 30 times with his fists and kicked him six times as he lay on the ground.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC was shocked to see CCTV footage showing that the shopkeeper had continued to process the defendant’s purchase of three bottles of wine as Askey carried on attacking his victim.
He said: “He is ringing in the till while the man is being assaulted on the ground by this vicious customer.”
Askey was also given a bag for his wine before he returned for his keys and left, but he was traced by police after his vehicle registration details were recorded.
The complainant suffered fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, extensive bruising to his face and body and he needed to stay in hospital for five days.
He stated: “I struggle to talk about what happened and I struggle to control my emotions. I know this was an isolated incident however I am scared. I know it is not a rational fear. However, I am scared to go out.”
Askey, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent after the assault on December 8, 2021.
James Baird, defending, said: “He was affected by drink and anxiety at the time. It is quite dreadful and he accepts that. I repeat in the report what he said to the probation officer that he is totally disgusted with himself and it is totally wrong what he did and he will feel guilty about his actions for the rest of his life.”
Mr Baird added Askey has been hard-working and had run his own business but he went “off the rails” after an argument with his girlfriend and consumed too much alcohol.
Askey also pleaded guilty to exceeding the drink-drive limit for which he was fined £100 and banned from driving for 17 months at a previous magistrates’ court hearing.
Judge Richardson recognised Askey’s mother was ill, that he had suffered a bereavement and that his business had collapsed but he stressed none of that justified the assault.
He stressed Askey’s victim has since suffered with his mental health, his work has been affected and he needs counselling.
Judge Richardson who sentenced Askey to five years of custody told him: “This was a very serious example of gratuitous violence in a public place which was persistent with quite dreadful consequences for the victim.”