Laughing yobs beat disabled man unconscious after befriending him in Sunderland street

GUILTY OF ASSAULT: Lathan Burnett and Thomas Robson, right.
GUILTY OF ASSAULT: Lathan Burnett and Thomas Robson, right.
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TWO attackers laughed as they beat a disabled man unconscious after befriending him in the street.

The 31-year-old victim was walking home from a night out with his family last August when he was approached by Lathan Burnett and Thomas Robson, who appeared “friendly”.

Newcastle Crown Court heard as the trio entered a subway heading towards the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, the two attackers lashed out without warning.

One witness to the ferocious assault said she was “sick to the stomach” by what she saw.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court the victim had fallen from the Monkwearmouth Bridge a decade ago and still suffered the effects of head injuries and walked with a limp.

Mr Rowland said: “They began to attack him, they punched him around the head and body.

“He did not attempt to fight back, he put his hands over his head in order to try and protect it.”

The court heard the vicim was dragged along the ground and kicked full force in he face by Burnett.

Mr Rowland added: “He was running from one side of the wall of the subway to another before kicking the complainant in the face.”

One horrified witness said Burnett appeared to be “enjoying” the savagery.

Mr Rowland said: “The witness took the view both defendants found this funny.”

The court heard the vicim was left with grazing injuries and skin loss to his back, buttocks and elbow.

He had a haemorrhage to his eye with swollen, cut lips and a bloody nose.

The violence that night has left him wary of other people and no longer feeling free to socialise or walk around he city as freely as he previously did.

He expressed thanks through the police to the people who stepped forward to help stop the attack before he met a more serious fate.

Burnett, 26, of Grindon Lane, Springwell, Sunderland and Robson, 22, of Akeld Mews, Sunderland, both admitted assault.

Mr Recorder Andrew Baker QC told them: “For no reason at all, other than, it would seem, the pleasure of the attack, you set about this man

“In your drunken state you were deliberately setting out to cause quite serious harm, potentially more serious than in the event you managed to cause.”

Burnett, who has a long criminal record and has been assessed as posing a high risk of further offending, was jailed for 20 months.

The judge told him: “In my judgement, is is not safe for you to be left in the community.”

Robson was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with supervision and programme requirements.

Defence barristers said both men go involved in what happened that night because of the amount they had to drink.

Katherine Dunn, for Burnett, said: “As a result of committing this offence he has tried to turn his life around.

“For two months he has had not alcohol and now has a job offer.”

Vic Laffey, for Burnett, said: “He would like to contact the victim and express his disappointment at the way he acted on this occasion and express his sorrow towards that gentleman.

“He clearly expresses remorse.”