Any one of a number of kicks aimed at the head of a defenceless man as he lay unconscious in the street could have left him with brain damage.
And at Warwick Crown Court the man who played the leading role in the vicious attack was jailed, while two others received suspended sentences.
Cameron Spriggs, 23, of The Orchard, Marton, near Rugby; Ben Sharratt, 23, of Black Lane, Birdingbury; and Luke Dance, 20, of George Street, Stockton, had all pleaded guilty to the assault, causing their victim actual bodily harm.
Spriggs was jailed for 15 months, but Sharratt and Dance were both sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years, with two years supervision.
They were also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 compensation each to the victim.
Prosecutor Kathryn Roughton said that in November last year the victim had been out drinking with his cousin in Southam.
As they then waited in the street for a friend to pick them up, a car pulled up and Spriggs, who was driving, and the other two defendants got out.
A CCTV recording was played which showed that Spriggs, who has since been banned for driving with excess alcohol that night, and the others had been driving round ‘as if they were looking for those two men.’
There was an exchange of words, and when the victim, who had been captured walking unsteadily up the street, went over to the car Spriggs felled him with a powerful headbutt.
Spriggs followed that up by kicking the victim and then leaning over him, raining punches to his face with both fists before kicking him repeatedly to the head, even as he lay there clearly unconscious.
Sharratt joined in by slapping the mann to the face, and he and Dance then went towards the man’s cousin.
The victim was slapped again to the face by Sharratt and, before they returned to the car, Dance went over and kicked him, said Mrs Roughton.
They then got back into the car and Spriggs drove off, but they were stopped by the police who had already been alerted by the CCTV operator who rightly suspected him of drink-driving.
They told the police that the victim had ‘embarrassed’ them in the pub – but both Dance and Sharratt said they had not realised he was unconscious when they joined in.
Mrs Roughton added that Spriggs and Sharratt both had a previous conviction for violent disorder following an attack on a man and his two teenage sons in 2007.
Jamie Strong, for Spriggs, said although he accepted the assault fell into the sentencing category of ‘greater culpability,’ he did not accept there was also ‘greater harm.’
But Recorder Richard Burns commented: “That is pure happenstance. Any one of those kicks to the head could have resulted in brain damage.”
And Mr Strong conceded: “It is more by luck than design that the injuries were not more severe.”
He continued: “Mr Spriggs says in his interview that he was not looking for them; but I can see what the CCTV shows. There is, however, evidence that as the car drove past, the victim and his cousin were shouting and making gestures.”
Mr Strong said Spriggs, who has issues with anger management and with his temper, as well as issues in the family over the loss of his sister who died unexpectedly, ‘is deeply remorseful and ashamed of his behaviour.”
Jailing Spriggs, Recorder Burns told him: “You were the perpetrator of the harm caused to the victim; you kicked him and pounded him. It was terrible; any one of those kicks could have caused really serious harm.”
He added that the other two ‘did not play such a big role’ in the assault.