Restaurant yobs are spared jail

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FOUR men who launched a drunken attack on diners in a restaurant have been spared jail.

Houghton building contractor Lea Widdowfield and three of his employees, Gary Burrell, Shane Campbell and John Rose, admitted violent disorder.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how they launched kicks and punches during the “unprovoked and sustained physical attack” at a restaurant in Rochester, Medway, Kent, on October 6.

The group, who were staying in a bed and breakfast while carrying out sheeting and cladding work in the area, were given suspended sentences and ordered to pay compensation to their five victims.

Judge David Griffiths-Jones said the four had behaved in an “obnoxious fashion”.

Passing sentence, he told them: “You were disturbing the peace and law-abiding members of the public.

“You were behaving in a generally challenging, goading and aggressive fashion.

“These five young men were minding their own business, going about their lawful activities after a night out.”

The court heard how Burrell and Rose had started to make a “nuisance” of themselves in the restaurant and Campbell and Widdowfield had ended up joining them in the attack.

CCTV footage showed the victims, one of whom suffered serious damage to his left eye, trying to protect themselves against kicks and punches.

Judge Griffiths-Jones told the Wearsiders: “You went on to launch an unprovoked and sustained physical attack, for which there is no excuse.

“The CCTV tells its own story. You were all four enthusiastic participants in that violence.

“It involved raining punches and kicks on your victims for a prolonged period.”

The judge said a custodial sentence was demanded, but the defendants had acted out of character and expressed remorse.

Widdowfield, 37, of Romney Close, Houghton, and Campbell, 23, of Primrose Crescent, Houghton, were sentenced to 10 months in jail, suspended for two years.

Rose, 25, of Askrigg Avenue, Grangetown, was sentenced to eight months and Burrell, 21, of Marigold Crescent, Houghton, to eight months youth custody, both suspended for two years.

“It could be said you have made a positive contribution to society,” added Judge Griffith-Jones. “You all have a good work record.

“You have all spent some time on remand. I hope that will have provided you with a very salutary lesson.”

In their defence, Campbell was said to be “shocked and disgusted” with himself while Burrell, described as a decent young man from a good family, was also ashamed of his actions.

Widdowfield, who was said to have drunk up to 10 pints on the night, along with Rose, also accepted their behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.

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