Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Trial of alleged goth attacker in Exeter

The latest trial of subcultural violence fits into usual pattern.

Express and Echo 8 Jan 2008

An alleged attack on a man began with the assailant trying to grab the victim's "Goth" hat, Exeter Crown Court heard yesterday.

Ashley Matthews, 20, of Midway, Exmouth, is accused of punching Anthony O'Neill to the ground, then kicking his head and body as he lay on the floor.

Matthews pleaded not guilty to causing actual bodily harm to Mr O'Neill, when the trial started yesterday.

Prosecutor Emma Smith said the incident happened in the car park outside the Famous Old Barrel pub, in Exmouth town centre, on Friday February 10, 2006.

She said: "This defendant launched an unprovoked and nasty attack on a young man who was then aged 19.

"The severity was such that Mr O'Neill needed hospital treatment and stitches to his face."

She said that Mr O'Neill was walking through the car park with friends at around 11.30pm, after visiting the pub, when they saw Matthews with a group of people.

"Mr O'Neill describes himself as a Goth and was wearing black clothing and a black coat," said the prosecutor.

"There was another group of young people already there. They were not Goths, they were wearing jeans and trainers, including this defendant.

"While in the car park, this defendant went to snatch Mr O'Neill's hat."

The prosecutor said Mr O'Neill walked away and his group of friends changed their route to avoid the defendant but an "entirely unprovoked attack" followed.

She said that Mr O'Neill was punched to the ground and then kicked in the head and body as he lay on the floor.

As the victim's friends approached, the defendant ran away.

"There was only one person doing that kicking and that was this defendant," said the prosecutor.

She added that a witness, who was not with either of the two groups, saw only one person kicking.One of Mr O'Neill's friends recognised the defendant and also described him carrying out the attack.

Mr O'Neill, giving evidence, showed the jury the hat. He told them he had two pints of cider while in the pub for several hours and was feeling chatty but was not drunk when he left.

But he added that he could not remember anything after leaving the pub, because of being struck in the head. He was taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

He said: "The whole thing is a bit vague. The next thing I remember is lying in hospital."

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gareth Evans, Mr O'Neill said he had since spoken about the incident with friends, who were now witnesses in the trial. The court was told that Matthews denied kicking anyone when he was arrested.
He said that he had been struck in the face.The trial continues.

Express & Echo 9 Jan 2008

A man accused of punching a 'Goth' and then kicking him as he lay on the floor insisted to police that he was the one who was attacked first, Exeter Crown Court has heard.The transcript of a police interview with Exmouth man Ashley Matthews was read out in the second day of his trial yesterday.

It is claimed he grabbed Anthony O'Neill's 'Goth' hat as the alleged victim was walking through the car park after leaving the Famous Old Barrel pub in the town centre, then punched him and kicked him.

Matthews, 20, of Midway, Exmouth, has denied causing actual bodily harm to Mr O'Neill, a follower of the Gothic rock scene, in an incident on Friday, February 10, 2006.

PC Sean Cashin, officer in the case, read out the transcript where Matthews had been interviewed by another officer.

The defendant told the policeman: "That bloke came out (of the pub). I got smacked on the side of my face, so I punched matey back."

He added: "I felt a sharp blow into my face, so I turned around and hit him back then."

He told the officer that he did not know the man by name but had seen him walking around the town before, with long brown hair and a long black coat. Matthews said he only hit the man once, in self-defence, and then walked home with friends. He said: "There was one punch. I would remember kicking someone in."

Defence counsel Gareth Evans cross-examined PC Cashin about whether he had viewed footage from a security camera in the car park, as soon as possible after the incident.

PC Cashin replied that he did not view it until later in the year and could not be sure of the exact date, except that it was between November 2006 and January 2007. Once viewed, it did not show anything relevant.

The police officer, referring to why the exact date of viewing the tape had not been recorded, said: "It was obviously an omission at the time."

There was also evidence from Exmouth resident Jade Sheeley, who was walking past the car park on her way home that night.

"I saw a boy on the floor with a group around him and one boy kicking him," she said. "The boy on the floor had a pony-tail, which was dark coloured. The boy doing the kicking had trainers and a white T-shirt top with writing on the top."

She added: "There were at least three kicks. I saw at least one to the head and one to the body at least." Miss Sheeley told the jury: "I saw, I think, a girl telling him to leave him alone and a couple of the other Goths trying to get away and some of the 'townie' group gathered around the boy."

Under cross-examination, Miss Sheeley said she could not remember whether the attacker was wearing a hat.

Defence counsel Gareth Evans asked if she had seen another of Mr O'Neill's group "physically involved" with another man in Albion Street and she replied that she had not. She had walked home and called police.

The trial continues.

1 comment:

Lord of Erewhon said...

Something is deeply wrong in your country! Nothing so bad is happening in my country, though some people don't like goths, mainly hip-hopers and such, there are some robberies by mobs, some insults... Anyway, me and my friends have stop with that shit of «mister nice and peaceful goth», we only go to our bars and in groups and we fight back and protect ourselves, our friends and girlfriends. I practice Aikido and many of my friends are starting in martial arts too. We are living in a brutal and stupid world and we have the legal and moral right to defend ourselves and our lifestyles!

Let it be dark and let my bats fly!