Knuckleduster attack leaves Derbyshire man blind in one eye as youths walk free
Two Derbyshire youths have walked free from court after a man lost an eye during a vicious knuckle duster assault.
Reece Webster, 18, and Kaine Garratt, 20, were found with their victim's DNA on their clothing when he was punched in the face with the deadly weapon in March 2018.
The victim described feeling a blow to the side of his face “like being hit by concrete” before falling to his knees and “feeling further strikes”.
However Derby Crown Court heard today there was no “direct evidence” linking the pair to the nasty assault - meaning guilty pleas to a lesser charge of affray were accepted.
As a result, both were handed community orders with rehabilitation activities.
Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC, told them that he had to “pull back” from immediate custody as they had both been found not guilty of grievous bodily harm.
Sentencing the two today - who were aged just 15 and 17 at the time of the attack - he said: “The victim will be sitting waiting for this matter to be reported, wanting to know what sort of sentence you have received.
“I want you both to reflect that had this been a relative of yours you would be thinking there should be immediate custodial sentences.
“Had this been an assault both of you would have received immediate custodial sentences.
“But I had to pull back from that because it’s now a public order offence.”
Recorder Bhatia said both youths were ‘significantly younger than you are today’, adding: “What started off as a snowball fight turned into quite a nasty incident involving the two of you.
“The attack on him was spontaneous and short-lived but had very serious consequences.”
Prosecutor Sarah Allen described how on March 1, 2018 the victim stopped his car on Cromford Road in Ripley when a snowball was thrown through its open window.
The attack came after he grabbed one of the youths who admitted hurling the missile by the shoulder.
Later in hospital with his wife the shaken victim was told there was “no prospect” of saving the eye as medics discovered a bleed on its globe.
Medics decided not to remove the eye as this would lead to prolonged hospital treatment and “excruciating” pain.
In a victim impact statement read out in court today the injured man – who also suffers with glaucoma – described feeling a constant “dull ache” and “bumping into things” due to his impaired vision.
He said: “The first time the impact really hit me was in hospital when the nurse said I had lost my eye.
“My wife started crying and I realised how serious it was - I now regularly spill things including boiling water.
“I’m bumping into people all the time and mentally it’s had a huge effect - I don't feel I can walk to my local shop for fear of being attacked.
“Sometimes I get angry about it and this affects my whole family - including my kids.”
Both defendants, who denied attacking the victim or having any knowledge of a weapon at the scene, admitted affray.
Garratt, of Oxford Court, Ripley, - who has previous convictions for violence including battery, and ABH - was given a two-year community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation days.
Webster, of Cotmanhay Road, Ilkeston, was handed a one-year community order and a curfew.