Thugs jailed for sadistic attack on Birkenhead menTWO SADISTIC thugs who subjected two vulnerable men to a brutal attack over four hours were put behind bars.
James Strang, 32, and Liam Connor, 29, used a claw hammer to repeatedly batter their victims Stephen Marsh and Alex Boston.
During their prolonged ordeal the victims were also continuously punched, kneed and kicked and stamped while they lay helpless on the floor of Mr Marsh’s flat.
Liverpool crown court heard the yobs also degraded and humiliated their victims by pouring paint over their faces and into their mouths and cutting their hair off with scissors. They also threatened to kill their victims and “chop them into pieces”.
Jason Smith, prosecuting, told how both victims feared they would never leave the flat alive. Even before leaving Mr Marsh’s Birkenhead home, they forced him to tie up his friend, before trying to gouge his eye out.
The attack was so severe Mr Marsh, described by neighbours as a “gentle giant”, suffered bleeding to the brain and lining of the brain. He also had a depressed fracture of the eye socket and a fracture to the cheekbone from the eye gouging as well as two black eyes, bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Mr Boston suffered fractures to his nose, swelling and cuts to his head.
Mr Smith told how pictures taken of the men, covered in paint, “vividly depicted” the ordeal they had been through.
Strang, of Bridle Close, Prenton and Connor, of Ash Road, Birkenhead, were arrested soon after.
But the court heard both men were hard-working family men who had never been to prison before.
Judge Nigel Gilmour QC said: “There is nothing which would give any hint at all that you two would be capable of such mindless violence.”
He jailed Strang, a former successful amateur footballer and bank worker for seven years and two months and Connor, a dad-of-three and qualified scaffolder for six-and-a-half years.
The judge said: “The facts of your offending are particularly horrendous. It has been described accurately as an incident lasting four hours where the two of your committed sustained, sadistic and brutal violence involving the use of a hammer upon two victims.”
He added: “The two victims offered no threat to you. They offered no violence. One of them commented that you appeared to be enjoying the violence.”
Mr Smith told how for about four months Mr Marsh had had problems with his two attackers who lived in a flat below him on Ash Road, Birkenhead.
At about 1am on July 8, Mr Marsh and Mr Boston returned from a nearby Pub
and Mr Boston decided to question the pair about a bike that had been stolen from his pal. He knocked on their door, but was immediately confronted with aggression.
Mr Smith told how Strang punched Mr Marsh before turning on Mr Boston.
Strang then walked into Mr Marsh’s living room and without provocation began to launch his ferocious attack.
At one point Mr Boston’s eye burst open and blood was squirting everywhere, but that failed to stop their attack. While severely injured, Mr Boston urged his pal Mr Marsh to help him fight back saying: “We’re going to die here,” but he refused.
Strang and Connor both admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting GBH. Paul Becker, defending, told how his client Strang had previously worked at the job centre, a bank and call centres, before being made redundant.
Paul Wood, defending, told how Connor had suffered a drink-related heart attack in November 2009 and had spent three months in hospital. THE ECHO