A group of four who rained down punches and kicks on an off-duty delivery driver have been jailed.

Their victim was so badly beaten he was transferred to hospital in Oxford over fears he may have suffered a brain injury.

Although those fears proved to be unfounded, multiple bones in his face were broken, cuts had to be sutured and he was left badly bruised.

Judge Nigel Daly told the four men who admitted involvement in the Banbury attack that it was not entirely clear from the CCTV what had happened.

But he added: “What is clear is that you were all involved in some way or another and what happened when the victim was o the ground was, as I say, kicking, punching and stamping on his head. In my view his head was targeted.”

The group had been drinking in central Banbury on August 5, 2018. In the early hours, there was a confrontation outside a nightclub involving the victim of the assault, Dion Pain and Billy Murphy, both 26.

Pain followed the man up the street, despite others trying to stop him going after the victim.

The man, who had gone clubbing after finishing his shift as a delivery driver, got into a Mercedes Benz that then drove away. The car returned shortly afterwards; he got out and reignited the confrontation.

The group took him to the ground and landed kicks and punches. He got back up but was taken to the ground and struck again.

The Banbury men, Murphy, of Lidsey Road, Pain, of Arbury Close, Sam Page, 26, of Brantwood Rise, and Matthew Clarke, 27, of Prescott Avenue, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

All were said to be remorseful. They were variously described as family men whose incarceration would have an impact on their parents, children and employers.

Judge Daly asked the rhetorical question whether it would be appropriate to impose suspended sentences, as he was urged to by the men’s barristers.

“Is there a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation? Probably. Is there strong personal mitigation? Well, I’ve gone through that already. There is some. Will immediate custody result in significant harmful impact upon others? Yes, it will, but quite frankly that is your fault,” he said.

“Do you present a risk or danger to the public? Perhaps not. Do you have a history of poor compliance with court orders? No, you do not.

“But then, I’m afraid, we come to the final question: can the appropriate punishment only be achieved by immediate custody?

“This, as I’ve said, was a late night attack in the centre of Banbury by a group of four on one man. He was on the ground, the attack continued, he received severe injuries as he was kicked, punched and stamped on and in my judgement appropriate punishment can only be achieved by an immediate custodial sentence and that outweighs all the other factors.”

Murphy received 21 months’ imprisonment, Pain was given 18 months, Clarke received 15 months and Page was jailed for 13 months.

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