A 19-YEAR-old Chippenham man has been jailed for eight months after attacking a cyclist in Gloucester and stamping on his head.

Gloucester Crown Court was told that Anthony Keating was cycling home in Gloucester when he was approached by a group of youths who surrounded him.

Prosecutor Lynne Shirley said: “They rammed into him in what he thought in an effort to knock him off his bike.

“He was forced into a fence and forced to get off and one of them attacked his back wheel by stamping on it, which buckled the spokes.

“Mr Keating picked up his bike and put it over his shoulder and repeatedly told the youths to leave him alone. He tried walking away but was attacked by the ringleader, who was wearing a red mask.

“This man was the defendant, Kyle Stevens, who continued cycling at Mr Keating, who was forced to use his own now damaged bike to fend off the youths.

“Stevens then kicked Mr Keating to the floor and stamped on his head while he was lying on the ground.

“Members of the public arrived to help Mr Keating and as the police arrived the youths dispersed.”

Stevens, of Wood Lane, Chippenham, originally denied assault causing actual bodily harm and attempting to rob Mr Keating in October 2018, but changed his plea at a hearing in December.

He was sentenced to a total of eight months in a young offenders’ institution for the assault causing actual bodily harm and breach of a community order.

The court was told that Mr Keating was taken to hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. He said in a personal statement that he suffered from headaches in the days following the incident and had to take time off work.

The court heard that a number of witnesses described it as a prolonged attack by three or four youths, one of whom was holding a whisky bottle.

They described it as 'tormenting' Mr Keating, with the ringleader having a distinctive red scarf over his face.

Ms Shirley continued: “Police found Stevens a short while afterwards, hiding behind a caravan with his red scarf, and he initially told them it wasn’t him, but later he admitted that he had stamped on the victim’s head after acting in self defence.

“Stevens claimed that Mr Keating was using his bike as a weapon towards him.”

Judge Timothy Rose enquired as to why the case had taken so long to come to court and was told that it was due to Stevens receiving a postal summons nine months after the incident, and also failing to attend his trial at Salisbury Crown Court last December.

Ellen McAnaw, defending, explained to the court that at the time Stevens, then aged 18, had just left the care system and was placed in a flat in Gloucester.

She added: “At the time of the incident he didn’t have any structure to his life.

“He has been remanded in custody since the end of December and has been making good use of his time in prison. He has undertaken a number of courses - if he were to be released into the community today he’d have nowhere to live.

“However he needs as short a prison sentence as possible to prevent him from being institutionalised and reliant on custody for shelter and his ongoing care.”

Judge Rose said to Stevens: “The delay in you coming to court is problematic, especially in dealing with somebody so young at the time. It was some 16 months ago and was a very serious incident.

“The victim was set upon by a group of youths of which you were the ring leader. You stamped on Mr Keating’s head and you could have caused him serious harm. He could have died and that’s why the courts take these matters so seriously.”