Trio put away after drink-fuelled vicious attacks

A JUDGE has slammed the culture of "loutish drunken violence" after three youths were jailed for more than five years in total for vicious attacks on innocent victims in Haywards Heath.

The first victim thought he was going to die as he was set upon with a baseball bat – then robbed of his mobile phone as he desperately tried to call for help.

A second victim was chased with a hunting knife with a 12'' blade through Haywards Heath railway station before being slashed at with the weapon.

Nicholas Hall, prosecuting, told Lewes Crown Court the most recent offences were carried out in February by 19-year-old Adam Simmons and Clarke Tribe, 22.

He said: "Both defendants had been drinking in various public houses in Haywards Heath.

"They were accompanied by Stacey Brown, Tribe's girlfriend at the time. There was a dispute between the defendants and some other men.

"It was quite quickly over but the defendant Tribe was angry and said he was going home to get a knife.

"Stacey Brown told him to stop being stupid but that seemed to make him even more cross and he went for her. He struck her hard with his hand which knocked her to the ground. He then grabbed her hair and dragged her along the ground.

"He kicked her in the legs and then walked off saying, 'you should keep your mouth shut, you slut.' Her mouth was bleeding slightly."

The court heard she walked home but ten minutes later Tribe and Simmons turned up and her boyfriend collected the hunting knife.

Mr Hall said: "Stefan Hanhart had been at work. It was five to one and he was near Haywards Heath railway station.

"He saw the defendants walking towards him, shouting abuse at him. When he looked up the defendant Tribe pulled the hunting knife out and attempted to stab or slash out at him.

"He put up his arms, trying to block the blow. He felt metal on his hand and against his jaw.

"He feared for his life and ran out of the station but the defendants chased after him."

The court heard the first offence was carried out in September last year as chef Marcin Rudzinski tried to make a call on his mobile phone in Victoria Park after finishing work and was approached by Simmons and 20-year-old Matthew Cooper.

The father-of-one, who had been in the UK for just four months, told officers he thought he was going to be killed in the brutal attack.

Simmons, of Burchetts Close, Haywards Heath, admitted robbery and affray and was jailed for 27 months in a young offenders' institution.

Cooper, a painter and decorator from Vale Road, Haywards Heath, admitted assault and was jailed for 15 months in a young offenders' institution.

Tribe, of Bentswood Road, Haywards Heath, admitted assault, having an offensive weapon and wounding and was imprisoned for two years.

Jailing the trio, Judge Richard Hayward said: "You blame drink but that's no excuse or mitigation – I find it an aggravating factor.

"The public are fed up to the back teeth of this kind of loutish drunken violence."